Pinched Nerve

What to look for

  • tenderness, tingling, or numbness in one part of your body, often a limb.

  • pins and needles, burning, or tearing pain where a nerve is being irritated

Most of us have experienced the numbness of a limb when we realise we have been lying on it the wrong way. The numbness we feel eventually gives way to ‘pins and needles’ a tingling sensation in the affected area. In fact any pressure applied to a nerve by the surrounding tissue will produce this discomfort and will interrupt the nerve's functioning.

The pinching can occur for many reasons… pregnancy, lying on the area, an injury, repetitive motions, or joint disease, to name just a few. Nerves passing over bones are particularly vulnerable.

The most typical pinched nerves are the ones which extend down the arms or legs, the nerves in your feet and between your disks in the spine as well as the nerve which travels from your spine to your foot (see Sciatica).

A pinched nerve is usually healed within a few days to a week with treatment. More chronic cases can leave permanent problems.

Causes

Pressure on a peripheral nerve from the surrounding tissue causes inflammation of the nerve.

Another common cause of nerve irritation is a damaged spinal disk commonly known as a slipped disk,  Heavy lifting, obesity, and contact sports can contribute to the problem.

Traditional Treatment

You may need to stop or reorganise the activity which is the cause of your uncomfortable condition. Your doctor may suggest wearing a splint, brace, or some other support and may also recommend a physical therapist to help you reinforce the muscles in the affected area.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Try a tea combining equal parts of St.-John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Try a tea combining equal parts of St.-John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).

Homoeopathy - For low-back pain that feels better when warmth is applied, try Rhus toxicodendron. Taking Arnica when your back pain follows an injury may lessen symptoms. Professional advice is required for proper dosages. For low-back pain that feels better when warmth is applied, try Rhus toxicodendron. Taking Arnica when your back pain follows an injury may lessen symptoms. Professional advice is required for proper dosages.

Dietary Considerations

Taking lecithin with meals may help regenerate nerves. Nerve impulse conduction may benefit from calcium chelate.

Prevention

Try to avoid the tasks that you know are going to aggravate the condition. When avoidance is impossible, perform the motions for short periods of time with breaks in between.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain persists for several days and does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics; OR if the pain is so severe you cannot move or perform the most basic task.