Common causes of pinched nerves
A pinched nerve is also commonly referred to as a compressed nerve or a trapped nerve. It can also be known as nerve entrapment, nerve impingement, or radiculopathy, depending on the location and cause of the compression, e.g a cervical radiculopathy if it’s in the neck.
Nerves can become pinched or compressed in various ways. Some common causes of nerve compression include:
Herniated or bulging discs: The discs in the spine act as shock absorbers and provide cushioning between the vertebrae. When one of these discs herniates or bulges out of its normal position, it can put pressure on nearby nerves.
Bone spurs: Osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions can cause the growth of bony protrusions, called bone spurs, which can compress nerves.
Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves that exit the spinal cord.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: This condition occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed, leading to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers.
Repetitive strain injuries: Repeating the same motions over and over can lead to inflammation and compression of nerves, as can maintaining the same posture for extended periods of time.
Tumors or cysts: Tumors or cysts that develop near nerves can compress them and cause symptoms.
Trauma or injury: Nerves can become pinched or compressed as a result of physical trauma or injury, such as a car accident or sports injury.
It is important to note that nerve compression can occur anywhere in the body where nerves exist. Therefore, the location, severity, and underlying cause of nerve compression can vary greatly. Treatment options may depend on the specific cause and location of the compression, as well as the individual's symptoms and medical history.
Osteopathy may be effective for pinched nerves, depending on the underlying cause and location of the nerve compression. Osteopathic treatment techniques such as soft tissue massage, mobilization, and manipulation may help to alleviate nerve compression and improve range of motion and function.
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2018 found that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) was associated with improvements in pain and function in patients with neck pain, including those with cervical radiculopathy.
Come and see me with your pinched nerve problems at Osteostudio in Ashurst Wood, East Grinstead.
Author: Cliff Russell - Registered Osteopath