The human body is made up of 206 bones and more than 7 trillion nerves — many of which are located between the vertebrae of the spine. Whether due to injury or improper movement of the spine, the nerve roots may become damaged or pinched, resulting in nerve root impingement. Approximately 85 out of 100,000 adults in the United States alone report experiencing a pinched nerve, most commonly aged 50 and older, with the severity of symptoms varying from one person to the next depending on the extent of the injury.
What is nerve root impingement?
Nerve root impingement is defined as the entrapment or compression of one or more spinal nerves. The spine is composed of countless nerves with roots detaching from the spinal cord and traveling throughout the 33 vertebrae in the spine.
The symptoms that occur as the result of a pinched nerve, also known as radiculopathy, range in severity depending on the type and area of compression.
There are three types of nerve root impingement including:
Foraminal stenosis is a common cause of nerve root impingement. It involves the narrowing of the openings that allow nerve roots to enter and exit the spinal column. This significant change or shift of bone structure within the spine leaves a person at an increased risk of developing a pinched nerve in the affected area.
Diagnosing nerve root impingement may be as simple as a physical examination with obvious deformities or pain with certain movements. It may require imaging tests like an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound.
What are the symptoms of nerve root impingement?
Symptoms of nerve root impingement range in severity depending on the extent of the injury. It also varies in what area of the body is affected based upon the area of the spine where a nerve has been compressed.
Symptoms of cervical nerve impingement
The cervical spine is the neck region of the spine located just beneath the base of the skull. It is composed of seven vertebrae, labeled as C1 to C7, and supports and controls the head. The most common symptoms associated with a cervical spine injury, like a pinched nerve, are present in one or both arms and hands.
Symptoms of thoracic nerve impingement
The thoracic spine is the middle area of the back beginning at the base of your neck and extending to the bottom of the ribcage. It consists of twelve vertebrae, labeled from T1 to T12, provides crucial support to the chest and abdominal cavity, and allows adequate rib attachment.
Symptoms of nerve root impingement in the thoracic region of the spine are present in the upper back and radiate or wrap around the body.
Symptoms of lumbar nerve impingement
The lumbar spine is the lower back region and is home to five vertebrae (L1 to L5). It connects the spine to the pelvis and is responsible for bearing most of a person’s body weight. When nerve impingement occurs in the lumbar region, a person often experiences pain when sitting or coughing, as well as symptoms that affect one or both legs and feet.
Commonly reported symptoms include:
Paresthesia (pins and needles sensation)
A loss of reflexes
The intermittent feeling of the hands or feet “falling asleep”
What is the treatment of nerve root impingement?
Treatment for a pinched nerve ranges based on the severity of pain felt and the variation in bone structure present. A minor pinched nerve may be treated at home with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen and plenty of rest. More severely damaged nerve roots may require medical attention.
A pinched nerve will generally go away on its own within four to six weeks, however, many find themselves wondering, “can a chiropractor help with a pinched nerve?”. Chiropractic care is an excellent option for those experiencing a pinched or damaged nerve. +
Treatment for nerve root impingement through chiropractic care includes:
Manual manipulation. Manual manipulation of the spine to correct a pinched nerve works by a licensed chiropractor providing spinal adjustments to correct the spacing between vertebrae and “unpinch” the nerve. It also helps to reduce pain and increase mobility.
Cervical, lumbar, or thoracic traction. Traction is carefully applied to the affected area to allow an increase in space between each vertebra. In doing so, the damaged nerve root is allowed ample space to heal and symptoms subside.
Medication, used alongside chiropractic care, to treat a pinched nerve includes steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroids as well as ice, heat, and ample rest.
Get chiropractic care for a pinched nerve
For many people experiencing pain or other symptoms that impact their daily lives, they often run to the office of their primary care provider who offers no answers, only medication with hopes of relief. Chiropractic care is a specialized treatment option that is individualized to meet the specific needs of each patient involving issues of the musculoskeletal system including the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.
At Accident Care Chiropractic, we strive to provide each patient with an individualized plan of care following a brief evaluation and physical examination to assess any concerns. Voted the best-rated Portland chiropractor, our office specializes in automobile accident injury chiropractic care to provide substantial relief to those suffering.
We offer 15 locations throughout the Washington and Oregon areas to better serve our current and future patients suffering from traumatic injuries. We specialize in treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system and treat a variety of aches and pains.
We offer many services in addition to chiropractic care, including:
No matter the cause of nerve root impingement, our team at Accident Care Chiropractic is here for you. During the initial visit with a member of our team, a detailed history will be gathered to determine the cause of injury as well as when the injury occurred. When necessary, x-ray images are taken to better view the area and assess the structure of the bones. Once a full evaluation has been completed, an individualized care plan is presented to aid you on the road to recovery.
Visit Accident Care Chiropractic for Nerve Root Impingement
If you have recently been involved in an automobile accident, whether you suffered a serious injury or not, seeking care from a licensed chiropractor can help promote healing throughout the body as not all injuries produce symptoms. Accident Care Chiropractic focuses on treating existing injuries, preventing future damage, and reducing the risk of long-term pain associated with a vehicle accident-related injury. Do not spend another day in pain with a worsening injury, call today to schedule a consultation with our team.