A 'trapped nerve' is a lay term. It occurs when a nerve in a part of the body gets displaced, compressed or irritated and can lead to pins and needles, weakness, numbness and in some cases severe pain.
The most common sites of nerve compression are the neck, lumbar spine and buttock area.
Daily activities such as long distance driving, being bent over a computer screen, stress and tiredness or simply poor posture when sitting and standing can all contribute to the development of muscle tightness and restriction of the facet joints in the spine leading to compression of the spinal nerves. Also, intervertebral disc injury/herniation, development of osteophytes (new bone growth around the joint seen in some arthritis), tumours and pregnancy are all potential causes of nerve entrapment.
How can your Osteopath help? Your Osteopath will take your medical history and perform a thorough examination including assessing sensation and reflexes to help them determine a cause for your pain. In certain cases, they may recommend further investigations and can refer you for imaging such as x-rays or MRI scans or to your GP, as required, for medication to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve whilst treatment is ongoing.
Treatment is aimed at relieving the nerve compression as well as dealing with the underlying cause(s) to prevent reoccurrence. It will be tailored to each patient individually.
Osteopaths can use a wide range of gentle manual treatments depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. We may work into the soft tissues of your back or rhythmically mobilise the joints to release tension and sometimes we may gently manipulate the back to loosen the joints and you may hear a “click”.
Treatment is different in every individual and sometimes it might involve treating other areas in the body such as the hips or neck.
We may offer advice on your lifestyle particularly if we feel something you are doing repetitively is part of the reason why you have back pain. We may offer advice on your posture and give advice on diet and exercise or give you specific exercises.
Don’t put up with trapped nerves! For further information about this or any other general aches, pains, orthopaedic or musculoskeletal problems, arrange a consultation with our friendly, experienced team at Sandbach Osteopathic and Sports Injury Clinic on 01270 759 491.