Suffering with a trapped nerve? What causes it?

What is trapped nerve?

Suffering with a trapped nerve? Find out what’s really going on inside your body and how to fix it.

‘Trapped Nerve’ is a bit of a catch-all phrase for a range of issues which lead to nerve pain; tingling, numbness or a general feeling of weakness. But what is really happening to cause this pain? What does the phrase ‘trapped nerve’ really mean?

What is nerve pain?

The central nervous system runs throughout the body, with its core protected by the spinal cord. It sends messages from body to brain, and vice versa, to communicate movement, pain, damage and more. Our nerves extend to each extreme of our body. They are the ‘sensors’ that help us to feel everything from temperature to textures to pain.
Nerve pain occurs when something disrupts the nerve’s function, causing those feelings of tingling or numbness.

What has trapped my nerve?

In actual fact, your nerve isn’t ‘trapped’ at all. The pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons.

Will a trapped nerve heal itself?

When people come to us asking how to get rid of a trapped nerve in their shoulder, we know we’re looking for an area of inflammation. It’s this swelling that causes a nerve to be pinched or compressed. Nerves can be compressed by discs, soft tissue or bones. As such, our Chiropractors need to identify which nerve is ‘trapped’ and by what in order to identify the best course of treatment.

Trapped nerves are the output of another problem – something that is causing inflammation – so they are unlikely to heal unless that root cause is identified and dealt with. Many of us will turn to anti-inflammatories or other painkillers to ‘release’ a trapped nerve in our shoulder. In fact, this approach will simply mask the pain and, whatever injury or condition is causing the swelling hasn’t been addressed so the pain will almost certainly return.

Can a Chiropractor help with a trapped nerve?

The short answer is ‘yes’. In fact, Chiropractors are the only manual therapists to be qualified, and solely focused, on the proper function of the central nervous system.
Chiropractic treatment methods are based on ‘changing’ the signals that nerves send when things go wrong in order that the body can heal more efficiently and effectively.
How to help a trapped nerve.

Trapped nerves can be really painful and, because they are commonly found in the back, neck and shoulder area, can impact on life, stopping sufferers from exercising and carrying out basic everyday tasks. Here at London Wellness, we treat many patients experiencing nerve pain. Here are our top tips for lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the risk of nerve irritation:


  • Sleep! Getting enough rest means your body relaxes and heals which will reduce symptoms.
  • Pay attention to your posture. If you have a poor posture; hunched back, rounded shoulders; you may become more prone to inflammation and trapped nerves. Make sure your workspace is ergonomic and use cushions to support your body when seated, especially on a nice soft sofa!
  • Stretch. Whether you have a gentle stretch each morning or participate in a yoga class, stretching is extremely good for your body as it relieves tension.
  • Ice and heat. Alternating between heat packs and ice packs is good for reducing inflammation, which is the main cause of trapped nerves. Ice your injury for around 15 minutes, three times per day and apply heat for up to an hour, three times per day.
  • Lose weight – carrying excess weight can make you more prone to suffering from a trapped nerve.

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