Pinched Nerve

Pinched Nerve

Article by John Miller

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Nerve damage and the nerve pain and symptoms associated can occur when your nerve is pinched or entrapped. Your pinched nerve usually occurs as a result of injury to structures adjacent to the nerve. The best known pinched nerve would be the sciatic nerve.

Pinched Nerve in Lower Back

pinched nerve

When your sciatic nerve pinches in the back by a disc protrusion, arthritic spur or swelling from a ligament injury, you are likely to experience referred leg pain. This sciatic nerve pinch is commonly known as sciatica.

Any compromise of the nerve space in your spinal column can lead to compression of the nerve endings. Regardless of the specific cause, pinching your nerve will result in a combination of nerve pain, sensory loss, muscle weakness, or altered reflexes.

All of your normal nerve function can be affected by a pinched nerve.

Pinched Nerve in Neck

You can pinch nerves anywhere in your body. The second most common nerves that can pinch are your neck nerves. Pinching your neck nerve can result in arm pain, weakness and altered reflexes.

A pinched neck nerve’s symptoms can appear similar to common arm conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and rotator cuff injury. If you have one of these conditions and do not respond to treatment, maybe it has been misdiagnosed. Please seek qualified professional advice for a thorough assessment.

A pinched nerve in the neck is known medically as cervical radiculopathy. As you can see, it doesn’t have a cool name like “sciatica”, so it is less well known. If you are in marketing, maybe you could help out poor old cervical radiculopathy.

Peripheral Pinched Nerves

You can pinch a nerve anywhere in your body. The most likely region for a nerve pinch is limited space around the nerve, e.g. tunnels through which your nerve passes.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an example of a pinched peripheral nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the front of your wrist.

How is a Pinched Nerve Diagnosed?

Pain is sent from your pinched nerve through the spinal cord nerves to your brain, where the pain interprets.

Your physiotherapist or doctor can detect where your nerve pinch is by the symptoms that you describe. They may refer you to further diagnostic testing such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI or nerve conduction testing to confirm the diagnosis or view the severity of the nerve pinch.

What are the 5 Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

A significantly pinched nerve will affect your nerve function and can result in:

  • nerve pain
  • altered sensation: paraesthesia (pins & needles) or anaesthesia (numbness)
  • muscle weakness
  • diminished reflexes
  • loss of bladder or bowel function.

These symptoms may require urgent medical attention. The less time your nerve stays pinched, the better your outcome. Be sure to get in touch with your doctor or physiotherapist ASAP.

Article by John Miller

What is Pain?

Pain is the built-in alarm that informs you something is wrong!

Pain is your body's way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and peripheral nerves provide an electrical pathway. Nerve messages travel between your brain and the other parts of your body. Pain travels along these nerve pathways as electrical signals to your brain for interpretation.

Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. Most cells sense pain. Tiny cells send messages along nerves and the spinal cord to your brain when there is an injury to your body,

In general, pain receptors are classified according to their location.

Receptors that respond to injury or noxious stimuli are termed nociceptors and are sensitive to thermal (heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical and painful stimuli. Each nociceptor is connected to a nerve that transmits an electrical impulse along its length towards the spinal cord and then, ultimately, your brain.

It is your brain that informs you whether or not you are experiencing pain. Plus, your pain can plays tricks - especially when you suffer chronic pain.

Pain messages travel slower than other nerve stimulation.

Nerves can also be categorised according to their diameter (width) and whether a myelin sheath is present.

Three types of nerves are concerned with the transmission of pain:

A-beta fibres, which have a large diameter and are myelinated
A-delta fibres, which has a small diameter and also have myelinated sheaths.
C fibres have small diameters, are non-myelinated (slowing their conduction rate), and are generally involved in transmitting dull, aching sensations.

Nerves with large diameters conduct impulses faster than those with a small diameter. The presence of a myelin sheath also speeds up the nerve conduction rate.

One method of easing your pain is to provide your nervous system with high speed "good feelings", such as rubbing your injured area. This is the same principle that a tens machine (pain-relieving machine) utilises to provide pain relief.

More info:

What is Pain?

What is Nerve Pain?

What is Chronic Pain?

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pain Relieving Machines

Article by John Miller

Nerve Pain

Nerve pain is pain caused by damage or disease that affects the nervous system of the body. It is also known as neuropathic pain or neuralgia. Nerve pain is a pain that comes from problems with signals from the nerves. It is different to the typical type of pain that is due to an injury. It is known as nociceptive pain.

What Causes Nerve Pain?

nerve pain

A problem with your nerves themselves, which sends pain messages to the brain, causes neuropathic pain.

What Are Nerve Pain Symptoms?

Nerve pain is often described as burning, stabbing, shooting, aching, or like an electric shock.

What Causes Nerve Pain?

Various conditions can affect your nerves and cause nerve pain. Familiar sources of nerve pain include:

  • Shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia).
  • Trigeminal neuralgia.
  • Diabetic neuropathy.
  • Phantom limb pain (post-amputation).
  • Cancer.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • HIV infection.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Other nerve disorders.

Nerve Pain & Nociceptive Pain

You can suffer both nerve pain and nociceptive pain simultaneously. The same condition can cause both pain types.

Nerve Pain Treatment

Nerve pain is less likely than nociceptive pain to be helped by traditional painkillers. Paracetamol and anti-inflammatories seem less effective. However, other types of medicines often work well to ease the pain. Nerve pain is often relieved by anti-depressant or anti-epileptic medication. Please ask your doctor for more advice.

What is Pain?

Pain is the built-in alarm that informs you something is wrong!

Pain is your body's way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and nerves provide the pathway for messages to travel to and from your brain and the other parts of your body. Pain travels along these nerve pathways as electrical signals to your brain for interpretation.

Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. Most cells sense pain. When there is an injury to your body, these tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain.

In general, pain receptors are classified according to their location.

Receptors that respond to injury or noxious stimuli are termed nociceptors and are sensitive to thermal (heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical and painful stimuli. Each nociceptor is connected to a nerve that transmits an electrical impulse along its length towards the spinal cord and then, ultimately, your brain.

It is your brain that informs you whether or not you are experiencing pain. Plus, your pain can plays tricks - especially when you suffer chronic pain.

Pain messages travel slower than other nerve stimulation.

Nerves can also be categorised according to their diameter (width) and whether a myelin sheath is present.

Three types of nerves are concerned with the transmission of pain:

A-beta fibres, which have a large diameter and are myelinated
A-delta fibres, which has a small diameter and also have myelinated sheaths.
C fibres have small diameters, are non-myelinated (slowing their conduction rate), and are generally involved in the transmission of dull, aching sensations.

Nerves with large diameters conduct impulses faster than those with a small diameter. The presence of a myelin sheath also speeds up the nerve conduction rate.

One method of easing your pain is to provide your nervous system with high speed "good feelings", such as rubbing your injured area. This is the same principle that a tens machine (pain-relieving machine) utilises to provide pain relief.

More info:

What is Pain?

What is Nerve Pain?

What is Chronic Pain?

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pain Relieving Machines

Article by John Miller

Chronic Pain

Recent research has helped to shed more light on the changes that occur in your body with chronic pain.

What is Normal ‘Protective’ Pain?

Normally pain is good. It informs you about potential or actual damage to your body’s tissues. Nociceptor nerve cells in the tissues of your body, react to strong stimuli such as pressure, heat, cold or chemicals.

These nociceptors send a message to the spinal cord, which then forward another message up to the brain. Your brain then processes these messages and produces a coordinated response to escape whatever is causing the tissue damage.

What is ‘Pathological’ Pain?

Research has shown that changes occur in your body at all levels of pain processing. These changes include:

Changes at the Injury Site

At the site of the injury, your peripheral nerve becomes much more easily excitable. This means that it takes far less of a stimulus to cause it to fire off. In some cases, even a gentle brush against the skin is enough to fire off the pain pathway.

Unfortunately, it is not just the damaged nerves that become more excitable, but also the neighbouring nerves, which means even further amplification of the nerve messages. Some nerves can also start firing off spontaneously, which means that they do not need a stimulus to fire off.

Changes in your Spinal Cord

In the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, changes occur in some of the cells that receive the nociceptor messages. These changes lead to greater sensitivity to the spontaneous nociceptor messages mentioned previously. Changes can also occur in some cells that leads to a ‘memory’ developing between two cells, which leads to an amplified response in the neighbouring cell.

Changes in your Brain

Usually, your brain can decrease the level of pain you experience by releasing natural opioid hormones. When you suffer chronic pain, changes occur in the midbrain which actually increases the nociceptive messages. This means you’ll perceive even more pain.

Chronic pain messages stimulate parts of the brain involved in emotion, fear and feelings. This may help explain why conditions such as depression, sleep disorders and pain catastrophising are linked with chronic pain.

We also know that chronic pain leads to atrophy or ‘shrinking’ of parts of the cortex and midbrain. Brain-stimulating activities may help to limit this ageing.

Do You Need More Information about Chronic Pain?

If you need more information about your pain or how to best manage your chronic pain, please consult the advice of your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist is highly trained at helping you to understand and reverse the changes that occur with chronic pain.

What is Pain?

Pain is the built-in alarm that informs you something is wrong!

Pain is your body's way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and nerves provide the pathway for messages to travel to and from your brain and the other parts of your body. Pain travels along these nerve pathways as electrical signals to your brain for interpretation.

Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. Most cells sense pain. When there is an injury to your body, these tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain.

In general, pain receptors are classified according to their location.

Receptors that respond to injury or noxious stimuli are termed nociceptors and are sensitive to thermal (heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical and painful stimuli. Each nociceptor is connected to a nerve that transmits an electrical impulse along its length towards the spinal cord and then, ultimately, your brain.

It is your brain that informs you whether or not you are experiencing pain. Plus, your pain can plays tricks - especially when you suffer chronic pain.

Pain messages travel slower than other nerve stimulation.

Nerves can also be categorised according to their diameter (width) and whether a myelin sheath is present.

Three types of nerves are concerned with the transmission of pain:

A-beta fibres, which have a large diameter and are myelinated
A-delta fibres, which has a small diameter and also have myelinated sheaths.
C fibres have small diameters, are non-myelinated (slowing their conduction rate), and are generally involved in the transmission of dull, aching sensations.

Nerves with large diameters conduct impulses faster than those with a small diameter. The presence of a myelin sheath also speeds up the nerve conduction rate.

One method of easing your pain is to provide your nervous system with high speed "good feelings", such as rubbing your injured area. This is the same principle that a tens machine (pain-relieving machine) utilises to provide pain relief.

More info:

What is Pain?

What is Nerve Pain?

What is Chronic Pain?

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pain Relieving Machines

Article by John Miller

What Causes Pins & Needles?

What is Paraesthesia?

A moderately pinched nerve is the most common cause of "pins and needles". Pins and needles are referred to as "paraesthesia" in the medical community. Did you know that feeling "pins and needles" can be a worse sign than having pain in your arm or leg? The reason is that you can't even feel pain anymore when you significantly squash the nerve.

Even worse than "pins and needles" is "numbness" or "anaesthesia", which is a total lack of sensation. You will experience anaesthesia when there is severe nerve compression. Anaesthesia or numbness that persists for more than a few hours can signify permanent nerve compression. Would you please seek prompt medical attention to prevent the nerve from permanent damage and the muscles it innervates to weaken drastically?

The majority of pinched nerves and nerve compressions are only transient and quickly reversed with early treatment. However, neglect can lead to permanent nerve compression injuries, which may never recover.

Common Causes of Pinched Nerves

The most common forms of nerve compression are in the spinal joints, where either a disc bulge or a bony arthritic spur can irritate and compress the nerve. Compressions can also occur as the nerve passes through or around muscles. Your physiotherapist will know where to look.

How Can You Fix "Pins and Needles"?

If you know of someone who is experiencing chronic or permanent "pins and needles", "numbness", or "muscle weakness", please encourage them to seek urgent professional advice. The secret to quick success is the correct diagnosis. A highly trained health practitioner such as your physiotherapist or doctor is your best port of call.

More info

What is a TENS Machine?

TENS is an abbreviation of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

What is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation?

Transcutaneous means "across the skin". In simple terms, a tens machine stimulates your nerves via an electrical current through your skin. A TENS machine is an electronic medical device. A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief.

The use of a TENS machine should be as one part of a pain management program under the guidance of your doctor or healthcare practitioner. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before using a TENS machine.

what is a tens machine?

How Does a TENS Machine Provide Short-Term Pain Relief?

Researchers believe that TENS controls pain in one of two ways:

Sensory Level Stimulation - The Gate Control theory of pain means that the electrical input of the TENS machine interferes with the transmission of pain signals by blocking the neural "gate" through which the pain travels.

Motor Level Stimulation - The goal of motor level stimulation is to cause the release of the body's opiate-like substances to achieve pain relief.

IMPORTANT

Use your TENS machine only as directed. A TENS machine and an EMS machine are electronic medical devices. Always read the label and instruction manual. A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief. Consult your doctor/healthcare professional before use and if symptoms persist.

TENS Machine FAQs

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