A nerve injury is often caused by a sudden traumatic event, like a slip and fall, personal or work injury, an automobile accident, or a sports injury. Overall stresses of the body from poor posture and being overweight can also lead to nerve pain over time, known as cumulative trauma. Where ligaments and bones are not aligned correctly, nerve pain and damage can occur. When nerve pain presents, there is pressure being placed on that nerve/s. Nerve pain symptoms include burning, tingling, or numbness-type sensations in the tissues controlled by that nerve. Orthopedic and neurologic testing will determine what specific nerve is affected. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spine and relieve the pressure on the nerve, thus eliminating the pain and correcting the problem.
Too much pressure from surrounding tissues compresses and irritates the nerve and interrupts its ability to function correctly. Pinched nerves are most vulnerable at points in the body where they pass through narrow spaces and have little to no soft tissue protection. Symptoms include:
A pinched nerve can decrease the range of motion and cause muscle spasms. If left untreated, a nerve injury can leave an individual with chronic pain and lead to permanent nerve damage.
Tingling and numbness are unusual or unpleasant physical sensations, most commonly experienced in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes. Tingling and numbness come in two forms:
Injuries to the nervous system can also produce numbness and tingling, even in areas nowhere near the actual injury. Examples include:
Other possible causes include:
To determine the appropriate course of treatment, a doctor of chiropractic must diagnose the cause of the nerve injury. Depending on the nature or severity of the sensation, the examination will include:
The chiropractor will palpate the effective areas and order imaging tests like X-rays if necessary. If further testing is needed to diagnose the source of the nerve injury, the doctor may order an MRI or CT scan. Once the underlying condition is diagnosed, a chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to eliminate irritation, correct misalignments causing pressure, and restore proper nerve function. Treatment plans vary from case to case but can include:
The objective is to relieve/release the pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic adjustments help reposition the muscles and nerves. Deep-tissue massage helps to release tension and eliminate toxins that worsen the sensations. Treatment improves circulation and relieves pressure on the neural pathways necessary to restore normal neural signaling between the body and the brain.
The brain needs half of all the body’s energy supply because of its complex nerve cell system. The brain requires glucose for brain cell energy. Because neurons can’t store energy, they need a continuous fuel supply to function correctly from the bloodstream. The ability to think, learn and recall information is closely associated with glucose levels. When blood glucose levels are low, the ability to think is inhibited as the production of chemical messengers/neurotransmitters, are reduced, disrupting communication between the neurons. Natural sugar can boost brain health because it requires glucose for functioning. Sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream when taken naturally from sources like apples and bananas, keeping the energy levels steady, without craving more sugar.
Ameh, Victor, and Steve Crane. “Nerve injury following shoulder dislocation: the emergency physician’s perspective.” European journal of emergency medicine: official journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine vol. 13,4 (2006): 233-5. doi:10.1097/01.mej.0000206190.62201.ad
Nichols, J S, and K O Lillehei. “Nerve injury associated with acute vascular trauma.” The Surgical clinics of North America vol. 68,4 (1988): 837-52. doi:10.1016/s0039-6109(16)44589-5
Ruggiero, S L. “Trigeminal nerve injury and repair.” The New York state dental journal vol. 62,8 (1996): 36-40.
Welch, J A. “Peripheral nerve injury.” Seminars in veterinary medicine and surgery (small animal) vol. 11,4 (1996): 273-84. doi:10.1016/s1096-2867(96)80020-x
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