What do you think of when you think about chiropractic? Most people equate chiropractic with the back since chiropractors work on the spine. That’s understandable. But, there’s so much more.
The reason chiropractors work on the spine is because the spine houses the spinal cord of the central nervous system. The 24 bones of the spine both move to allow motion and protect the delicate spinal cord and nerves.
If those bones get misaligned it puts pressure on the nerves and interferes with the function of whatever the nerve controls. Some of the more severe symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Numbness or decreased sensation in the area the nerve supplies
- Tingling or pins and needles sensation
- Muscle weakness in the muscle controlled by the nerve
- Sharp, aching, or burning pain
- Feeling that the foot or hand has “fallen asleep”
You can “pinch” a nerve and not have any symptoms for a long time. A good analogy is heart disease. You can have heart disease severely compromising your heart function for many years without any pain until…
,,,that massive heart attack.
Pinched nerves are much the same. I prefer to think of the nerves as under tension or irritated than pinched but I think you get the idea.
What Does Medicine Do for Pinched Nerves?
Think this through with me for a minute. If you have a pinched nerve then what do you think would be the only logical path to remedy the problem? Wouldn’t it be to remove the pressure from the nerve?
This is a great example of a mechanical problem causing a neurological issue. But, the medical approach to a pinched nerve is:
- Immobilization with a collar or brace
- Pain medication such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen
Those might help reduce the pain and inflammation temporarily but none of them actually address the pinching of the nerve. Wouldn’t you want to correct the cause of the pinching?
Like heart disease, just because the pain and numbness resolves it doesn’t mean the problem is corrected.
If you have a headache and take an analgesic such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen it might alleviate the pain of the headache but it hasn’t done anything to change the cause of the headache.
The Best Tool for the Job
What do I mean by the best tool for the job? Abraham Maslow is famously quoted as saying “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will start treating all your problems like a nail.”
What are the primary tools of medicine? Drugs, injections (more drugs), radiation, and surgery are the therapeutic tools of the medical profession.
A pinched nerve is a mechanical problem. What drugs could get joints to move off of a nerve and solve the problem of a pinched nerve?
This is why I find it so frustrating to watch people take pills and drugs when they have pinched nerves caused by bones and joints that are not moving.
If the problem is mechanical and pinched nerves are a mechanical problem, then the solution must be a mechanical solution.
Presence or Absence of Pain is a Poor Indicator
Culturally we equate the presence or absence of pain as an indicator of whether or not we are healthy or not. While pain and other symptoms offer insight into what is going on with us they are poor indicators. Let’s look at a few illustrative examples.
- Heart Disease: someone has heart disease with absolutely no symptoms for decades before they experience a heart attack. Were they healthy when they were asymptomatic? Obviously, not!
- Cancer: surely you have heard of someone who felt fine and a routine exam revealed advanced stage four cancer and they died within weeks or months. The cancer had been developing for some time and yet there was no sign.
- Food Poisoning: if you eat tainted food and become very symptomatic with vomiting and diarrhea is that a sign of illness or health? I’d say health because the response of the body, while uncomfortable is appropriate to rid the body of the bacteria.
Now let’s look at a pinched nerve through this lens. If you experience a pinched nerve along with pain, numbness, or weakness and you take medication that relieves the pain, is the problem gone?
How could it be? That’s a little like taking Imodium AD to stop the diarrhea from food poisoning. It hasn’t solved the problem, only shut down the symptoms.
Chiropractic for Pinched Nerves
Between every two bones in the spine and from the sacrum or tailbone nerves exit and travel everywhere in the body. In the neck the nerves travel into the shoulders and arms. In the low back and pelvis the nerves travel into the hips and down the legs.
From the neck to the low back the nerves travel into the muscles of the back as well as into the internal organs. If these nerves get “pinched” it often does not cause pain but interferes with the function of those organs. This is why I often see improvement in asthma, acid reflux, constipation, and high blood pressure. These nerves can be “pinched” without any pain at all.
The nervous system is the most delicate tissue in the body. That is why the brain and spinal cord are the only system encased in bone. The spine has 24 moveable bones along with 3 bones in the pelvis.
Those bones are intended to be able to move. When a spinal or pelvic bone gets misaligned or loses its normal motion it can put pressure, tension, and irritation on the nerves. In other words it can “pinch” the nerve.
What Does Chiropractic Do?
Chiropractic is a natural way to treat a pinched nerve, without drugs or surgery. When you visit your chiropractor, they’ll do an examination to identify any misalignments in the spine that can be causing the pinched nerve. They’ll then use gentle chiropractic adjustments to realign the bones of the spine and reduce nerve irritation. The result? A reduction in pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms associated with pinched nerves.
But that’s not all! Chiropractic care can also help improve your posture and flexibility, which can lead to better balance and stability. This helps prevent future pinched nerves from occurring in the future. Plus, chiropractic care can help promote overall wellness by removing interferences in your nervous system so that it can function as efficiently as possible.
At Life Chiropractic, Dr. Bill Berkowitz brings decades of experience in treating pinched nerves with gentle adjustments. Through our comprehensive approach to healing, we’ll work together to realign your spine and reduce nerve irritation for lasting relief. We also offer special posterior chain spinal exercises to keep you in alignment.
At Life Chiropractic, we strive to provide each patient with a personalized care plan that is tailored to meet their individual needs—so you can get back to living life on your own terms! Dr Bill offers one-on-one consultations so you can discuss your symptoms, lifestyle habits and goals with us directly—allowing us to provide you with the most effective treatment plan possible for long-term relief from pinched nerves.
Bill Berkowitz, DC
Bringing more than 3 decades of practice experience, Dr. Bill Berkowitz focuses on balancing and corrective care, applying his expertise to provide patients with predictable, repeatable and measurable results.
Dr. Bill consistently strives to enhance the well-being of his patients by addressing the root imbalances of their problems and promoting optimal balance, alignment, and function of the spine and nervous system. His commitment to delivering corrective chiropractic care has earned him a reputation for excellence among both colleagues and patients alike.
Bill’s wealth of knowledge and experience has allowed him to develop a nuanced understanding of the human body and its intricate connections. With each adjustment, he supports the body in returning to a state of balance that goes beyond mere symptom relief, focusing instead on long-term correction for his patients’ well-being.
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Schedule your first visit here: Life Chiropractic