Pinched Nerves

pinched nerveA Pinched Nerve

Being pinched anywhere hurts, but a pinched nerve? Ouch! It’s a sharp, severe, intense pain- the kind that doesn’t go away. A pinched nerve stays and keeps calling your attention like a toothache. Pinched nerves can happen anywhere in the spine: the neck (cervical area), lower back (lumbar area), or mid back (thoracic area). Pinched nerves can cause pain that affects nearly every part of the body: arms, fingers, wrist, shoulders, head, legs, toes- it can affect our mood and make our life miserable.


Are the nerves really pinched? There’s a lot of controversy over this. In fact, most authorities feel that the term is so inaccurate that it shouldn’t be used at all. Instead, it is argued, other terms should be used to properly describe whats going on: “nerve impingement”, “nerve irritation”, “foramina compression”, “nerve-meningeal tension”, “spinal stress”, or even a tongue twister like “neurothlipsis”.

But those suffering from a pinched nerve use the term because it’s so descriptive. Many patients have walked into a chiropractor’s waiting room saying that an M.D. told them they had a “pinched nerve” and needed to see a chiropractor.

Nerves: What do they do?

Nerves send impulses (or messages) from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain. Different nerves send different messages. When the message goes from the brain to the body it travels over a motor nerve. When the message goes from the body to the brain it travels over a sensory nerve.

The nerve messages keep your brain and internal organs communicating so they may work together in a coordinated harmonious manner. That translates into wholeness, high resistance to disease, vitality, and strength. Nerve messages also connect you to the outside world.

How So Nerves Get Impinged Or “Pinched”?

When the nerves come down from the brain they travel through a boney canal formed by vertebrae. If the vertebrae misalign slightly they may cause the nerves to be irritated, compressed, or stretched.

Nerves aren’t the only things in the affected area- there’s blood vessels, discs, ligaments, joints, muscles, fascia, tendons, meninges, lymphatics, other connective tissue and fat tissue and they may all be affected. Also nerves carry more than impulses. Recent research shows there to be a flow of chemical nutrients over the nerves which can be blocked.

What can cause this? Many things. For example, a trauma- a fall or accident, even a very mild one may be enough to misalign your spine. It may be due to bending or twisting in a certain way. It may also occur as a result of poor sleeping, poor posture, or both. It may occur after weeks or months of constant stress of either physical or emotional origin (usually it’s a combination of the two).


The term “pinch” isn’t accurate since the nerves aren’t really pinched but may be compressed, in the foramina. This may be referred to as “nerve impingement”, “nerve encroachment”, or “neurothlipsis”. Chiropractors however have a special term to describe the entire process of the vertebrae moving out of place, altering the foramina opening, putting pressure on nerbes and related structures, causing all kinds of problems: vertebral subluxation.

What Do Subluxations Do?

When the nerves are compressed their impulses may be altered and this can affect the entire body. Disease may result, setting the stage for even more disease. Physical and emotional conditions of many kinds have been related to the improper functioning of the nervous system. For example, impinging the nerves going to the stomach or intestines might cause a person to suffer from ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal conditions. This may happen to other areas as well. Additionally when the spinal column is misaligned the entire skeletal system is thrown off balance. This can cause fatigue and exhaustion. In fact, tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion are on of the early signs of vertebral subluxations.

Most “Pinched” Nerves Don’t Hurt

Most people with “pinched nerves” are not in pain. Pain is only one symptom of a vertebral subluxation and it’s not very common. Why is that? Remember we said only certain nerves carry pain messages? If certain sensory nerves are not badly damaged then no “pinched nerve” or pain will be felt. The damage to the nerves and other tissues may be going on but no pain will tell the unlucky person that they have nerve pressure. People with painful pinched nerves might be considered the lucky ones- they know they have a problem in their spine and will get themselves checked by a chiropractor. But what of the ones without pain? This is the big job of chiropractors today- educating the public and telling them about vertebral subluxations and the need for periodic spinal check-ups.

Kelly Chiropractic 9390 Ford Ave Suite #2
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
(912) 756-8080