18 May We Will Get On Your Trapped Nerves!
What is a trapped/pinched nerve?
Nerves typically become irritated either by being overstretched or compressed. A ‘pinched’ or ‘trapped’ nerve refers to a nerve that has become compressed. Disc bulges frequently cause nerve compression because the bulge in the disc can narrow the space where the nerve travels. Another common site of nerve entrapment is at the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The floor of the carpal tunnel is made up of a row of bones at the wrist, and the ceiling is formed by a very strong ligament called the flexor retinaculum. A staggering total of nine tendons accompany the median nerve as it travels through the narrow carpal tunnel. As space is limited in the tunnel, it is not surprising that the median nerve occasionally becomes compressed, leading to pain, weakness, and numbness or pins and needles in the hand.
What is the treatment for a trapped/pinched nerve?
Treatment for a pinched nerve relies on a bit of detective work to ascertain which anatomical structures are most likely compressing the nerve. Once this has been determined, treatment is aimed at relieving the compression. This usually consists of a combination of joint mobilisations and muscle release. In some cases, nerve flossing exercises are then used to restore the nerve’s ability
to glide smoothly through the body. These exercises should only be undertaken when advised by the physiotherapist. If performed inappropriately, they can cause further damage.
When working correctly, nerves enhance our ability to feel, move, and enjoy life. After injury, they are slow to heal, and the best advice with any type of nerve pain is to seek help early. As nerve symptoms progress over time, they become more difficult to treat, and can lead to permanent sensation loss or muscle weakness.
Written by Rebeca Garvin- Chartered Physiotherapist