Trapped Nerves – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Tips
Trapped nerves can be really irritating and even painful at times. A nerve is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of fibres that serves as a pathway for electrical and chemical signals to send motor and sensory information from all throughout the body. Each nerve structure is like cords and has many nerve fibres.
Nerves control everything, every sensation, thought, emotion and movement by linking the brain to the body. Messages are sent from the brain down to the spinal cord and out through the nerves. Nerves go everywhere in the body and may be trapped at different points along their course. A trapped nerve can be caused by two things:
- Big traumas – this can either be a car crash, a fall down the stairs or sporting accident (ouch!)
- Small repetitive traumas like stress and poor posture.
Technically, our modern lifestyle hinders us from properly caring for our bodies. When traumas happen, they can cause the spinal vertebrae to stiffen up instead of being able to move freely. When this happens, the joints in the spine does not work properly well causing irritation to the nerve next to it which then results to a trapped nerve.
Symptoms of a trapped nerve
Usually, the trapped nerve pain is felt in the area where the nerve is trapped. However, the heavier the pressure that is put on the nerve, the further away it can be felt from where it is trapped, this is know as radiating pain. The condition may arise in the neck, back of the chest or the lower back. The following are common symptoms of a trapped nerve:
- Pain in the area which may be sharp, burning or aching and may radiate outward
- Tingling, pins and needles sensation which gets very painful in some times.
- Numbness and weakness of the muscles; decreased sensation in the area being supplied by the nerve.
- The feeling that a foot or a hand has “fallen asleep”
When to consult a medical professional
There are self care options that can be done by the patient with the aid of someone close. However, there are several symptoms that patients need to be on the lookout for. When these symptoms occur, it is best to seek medical help:
- Persistent pain – pain that lasts for a couple of days with no relief
- Worsening pain despite applying self care treatment options
- Sudden onset of unexpected weakness or pain in a certain area
- Loss of sensation or intense, pronounced numbness
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Treatment Options for Trapped Nerve Pain
Repeat attacks of a trapped nerve need more sophisticated treatment otherwise more problems will arise over time, which are much harder to treat and lead to chronic pain. There are various self care remedies that can be done to alleviate the pain cause by trapped nerves such as the following:
- Ice massage – alternating massaging with ice and placing heat pads on the affected area
- Over the counter medicines – analgesics and anti inflammatory medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Please speak to a pharmacist before you take any medication.
- Gentle movement exercises within your pain-free movement will prevent joints from stiffening up and muscles from weakening resulting in more pain.
- Stretching – yoga stretches are helpful to aid the pain and the nerve and for prevention
- Work set up change – getting rid of stressful environments will not only help trapped nerves but will help in the overall quality of life as well. Using ergonomic chairs, keyboards and mouse pads are good options that can be done both at home and at the workplace.
- Osteopathy! – gets the movement back into the restricted joints and reducing the pressure from the nerve.
Get in touch with our team if you have any questions or would like to know how podiatry and osteopathy may help with your trapped nerve pain: