Treating a Trapped Nerve
What is a Trapped Nerve?
A trapped nerve occurs when there is too much pressure on a nerve, or the surrounding area. The central nervous system is protected by the spine, which ensures the body’s overall stability. A trapped nerve in the back, shoulder or neck is usually caused by a nerve that’s been damaged, usually because pressure has been placed on the nerve by the surrounding bones, cartilage, tendons or muscles.
We have nerves throughout our body; they are the sensors which allow us to feel any and every sensation. When there is tightness or inflammation of the nerve’s surrounding tissue, it can cause different kinds of pain for people. Trapped nerve pain can vary from muscle pain and slight stiffness in the affected area to more chronic, long-term pain. Here, we will outline just a few of the symptoms.
Trapped Nerve in Shoulder
Signs and symptoms for a trapped nerve in the shoulder blade include:
- Numbness or decreased ability to feel.
- Tingling in the limbs or directly on the affected area.
- Sharp, aching or burning sensations.
- Muscle weakness.
- Frequent feeling that limb has ‘fallen asleep’.
- Stinging pain such as pins and needles.
These symptoms could be indicative of a trapped nerve in the neck or perhaps the arms, another commonly impacted area. Trapped nerves can cause significant amounts of pain. For those experiencing pain from a trapped nerve in their neck or shoulder, the extent of the pain can be similar to that of sciatic nerve pain. Symptoms of sciatica will not crop up in the neck or shoulders, and instead can manifest in areas of the feet, knees, lower back and buttocks. People experiencing these symptoms may feel severe leg pain or hip pain, and the severity of pain can be similar for the neck and shoulders though, if a nerve feels trapped.
For your reference, we have a blog about how to relieve sciatica symptoms here.
How to get Rid of a Trapped Nerve in your Shoulder
A main type of treatment for nerve pain will centre on trying to relieve the sensation of stiffness that can be caused by trapped nerves in shoulders.
Treatment will focus on loosening the area to ease any pressure, relieve some of the tightness and reduce the inflammation which is causing the nerve to feel pressed. There are a variety of self-care methods of how to relieve a trapped nerve, which can be done at home or in the workplace.
- Change of posture. Poor posture might be one of the most common causes of trapped nerves, or at least one of the most common ways it is worsened. Sitting or standing in an incorrect position might be putting unnecessary stress on the body, thereby damaging the muscles and spine. Cushions, neck rests and adjustable chairs can help alleviate this issue.
- Ergonomics. Making some small changes in the workplace can go a long way. Adjusting computer screens to eye level, using an ergonomically friendly mouse and keyboard, or standing desks can help to keep areas stress-free and the spine moving.
- Painkillers. Pain relief medication such as ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce swelling, pressure and can relieve pain in cases of less extreme trapped nerves. We recommend consulting with a doctor beforehand, for the recommended dosage of pain relief for a trapped nerve.
- Stretching and yoga. Gentle stretches and yoga have been known to relieve tension and pressure across the whole body. Be mindful as stretching too deeply has been known to exacerbate certain symptoms.
- Hot and cold heat. Inflammation and swelling can be reduced significantly if someone experiencing symptoms of a trapped nerve alternates between heat and ice packs. The combination of both hot and cold heat increases fresh blood circulation to the affected area, which can end up being an effective form of pain relief. This is known as “hot and cold shunting”.
- Exercise. Low-impact exercises to keep the body energised, mobile and flexible are superb options to reduce symptoms as well as retain a good standard of health. Walking, cycling, swimming (among others), with plenty of stretches before and after the exercise, can reduce pressure and inflammation near the nerves while still keeping the body in shape.
- Deep tissue massage. This is a massage that works through several layers of soft tissue to help rehabilitate injuries, and relieve muscle tension and stiffness. Can massage help a trapped nerve, though? Yes, absolutely! They often provide an immediate form of pain relief, due to their effectiveness at relaxing muscles. Massage for trapped nerves works well because it allows a person to relax and lie still for some time, meaning their cortisol drops, which then allows the muscles to relax and repair more easily.
Can a Chiropractor help with Trapped Nerve?
Chiropractic treatment is focused on realigning the central nervous system, which as we mentioned, is vital to the overall health of the body. When things go wrong, chiropractors like the London Wellness Centre aim to isolate the origins of the nerve pain, as well as which nerve is trapped, and what they are trapped by.
We use methods of muscle testing, movement assessments and palpation (the process of using the hands and fingers to check a patient’s body) during our consultations.
Trapped nerves can often indicate more complex issues, therefore seeking remedies like deep tissue massage are effective, but for long-term help, you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor in London. The most effective form of treatment would be a combination of massage and chiropractic care.
If this is of interest, book a consultation today and see how we can provide the best form of help with nerve pain.
Other Useful Information
What’s the difference between an osteopath and chiropractor?
If you’re wondering whether to choose a chiropractor, osteopath or a physiotherapist for your back pain, you might be surprised to learn the results can be very different. The difference between an osteopath and chiropractor might seem minimal but, look deeper into the methods they use and you’ll find out who is likely to be more effective in treating your pain.