Have you ever woken up in the morning with what feels like a pinched nerve? What is a pinched nerve? The medical term for this is cervical radiculopathy, the clinical description of when a nerve root in the cervical spine becomes inflamed or damaged, resulting in a change in neurological function. This occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, which might be bone or cartilage, muscles, or tendons.
The spine is made up of 24 vertebrae that connect to form a protective canal for the spinal cord. The spinal column holds and protects the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerves that sends signals to other parts of the body. The openings in each vertebra allow nerves to come through. These nerves carry messages between the brain and the muscles. Inflammation or pressure connecting to a nerve in any of those places can cause this feeling of a pinched nerve.
Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy (CR) can include acute pain in the neck, pain that travels down the arm or shoulder from the neck, a decreased range of motion, tingling in the fingers or hands, and potentially a loss of sensation or numbness in these areas.
What causes a pinched nerve? It can result as inflammation due to an injury, or is often caused by arthritis in the neck, or a herniated disc. Changes in the spine can also occur from everyday stresses during normal activities of walking, running, sleeping, and so forth. CR is relatively common. Annually, the rate of this is 83 per 100,000 people, with an increased prevalence in people in their 50s.
Visit your chiropractor for acute pain management. Treatment will start with regular adjustments in quick succession when dealing with acute pain. This will address the source of the issue and put things back in place. Pain relievers and anti inflammatory medications can also be used, as well as cold and heat therapy. Then plan on regular adjustments to… maintenance and preventative care of your spine is important, just as are regular dental checkups and cleanings.
How long will the pinched nerve hurt? You’ll likely be sore for a few weeks, with the acute pain tapering off after initial and successive adjustments from your chiropractor. You’ll need to take it easy during this time, adjusting activity level to what you can comfortably handle, gradually increasing activity level as you improve.