Nerves are the wires that keep our bodies connected and working properly. They run both from the brain to the body powering muscles, and from the body to the brain, carrying sensation and information. Nerves often take a complicated route to reach the structure they serve and that means that they can get trapped by the structures they pass or pass through.
When a nerve is impinged it tends to get irritated and inflamed which can further increase the impingement. This can cause a vicious cycle that can maintain the problem.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain at the sight of the entrapment
- Shooting pain down the nerve route
- Numbness and tingling past the entrapment site, e.g. in the arm or hand with a trapped neck nerve
- Muscle weakness past the entrapment site, e.g. in the legs with a trapped nerve in the lower back
- Swelling past the entrapment site, eg in the hand with a trapped nerve in the wrist
The most common conditions caused by, or causing trapped nerves are:
- Sciatica: where the sciatic nerve is pinched sending pain down the leg
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: where the median nerve is trapped at the wrist causing hand problems
- Thoracic outlet syndrome: where a bunch of nerves heading for the arm are trapped behind the collar bone
- Slipped Disk: where a spinal disk traps a nerve exiting the spine.
- Arthritis: where excessive bone growth pinches a passing nerve, often in the spine.
- Spondylolisthesis: where spinal nerves get trapped by a vertebra slipping forward.
Trapped nerves require a careful and expert diagnosis by a trained professional. Trapped nerves are very common in clinic and where appropriate, recieve careful and expert treatment. Firstly an assessment and analysis is performed to establish how serious the entrapment is and then, if appropriate, gentle treatment is performed to mobilize structures, decreasing inflammation, and freeing up the nerves. This reduces pain and increases mobility.
Ultimately the aim is not just to treat it but prevent the symptoms from reoccurring. This includes education on how to keep the area in question healthy in the future. Please call to talk to a trained professional if you want to know more.