A ‘trapped nerve’ is a common and unpleasant condition in which a nerve can be irritated by either the chemical or mechanic effects of inflammed tissues. Symptoms that may suggest that you have trapped nerve include:
- Neck pain and stiffness with a combination of radiating pain, tingling, numbness and weakness down the arm, forearm and fingers
- Low back pain and stiffness, also, with a combination of radiating pain, tingling, numbness and weakness down the buttock, thigh, legs and feet.
A typical case history of a patient presenting with a trapped nerve may sound like this:
‘I woke up one morning with an incredibly stiff neck. I could hardly turn it. It took me a lot longer to get changed for work – brushing my teeth, putting my jacket on and reaching for things were particularly painful. I took some Nurofen which seemed to free off my neck a bit but later in the day, I started to get a pain down my arm and a couple of my fingers went numb. Although the stiffness has improved somewhat, I’m still getting these symptoms down my arm 3 days on.’
Sciatica is another example of a trapped nerve. Sciatica can be caused by a number of different injuries such as a slipped disc, arthritis, a sacro-iliac injury or a muscle tear in the low back.
Because there are many injuries that can cause a ‘trapped nerve’ it it worthwhile visiting an Osteopath to determine the root cause of the symptoms. If the Osteopath is unsure, you may be referred to have an x-ray, MRI scan or ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be created that will firstly reduce the pain and discomfort and secondly help to prevent recurrence of the injury.