29 Apr The Pinched Nerve in Your Neck Most Likely Isn’t Actually a Pinched Nerve
BY: Dr. Joe Mograbi, DC
So, you THINK you have a Pinched Nerve….
“Ouch! What the hell! All I did was get out of bed and I cant move my neck? I also have this weird pinky finger tingling, it feels like pins and needles.”
Who’s been there? You go to bed feeling good and wake up and can’t move your neck and now you’re getting some weird buzzing-like symptoms into your upper back and hands.
You hop on WebMD, or go to your local Urgent Care doctor, and you’re told you have a “pinched nerve” in your neck.
“I have a What? Where?” You may ask yourself.
How did I get here? What the hell is a pinched nerve? How does a nerve in my neck get “pinched” and create symptoms into my hand and upper back?
This pain is getting on my LAST (pinched) NERVE..
A quick explanation on how nerves work….
Nerves sit in between and on muscles!!
As we move, muscles lengthen and shorten, and the nerve that sits in between those muscles needs to be able to glide. A nerve is like a piece of dental floss, and as we move that nerve needs to be able to glide without any impediment.
So, imagine a piece of food stopping the dental floss. How do you think that would translate in the body? What is, stopping the nerve from gliding like dental floss? Keep that in mind for later.
Moreover, a nerve gets pinched when there is a build up of pressure on the nerve itself from a disc injury, or bone degeneration.
A “pinch” can also form when the surrounding muscles around the nerve tighten up causing the nerve to get stuck.
The images above show a clean and healthy MRI. The second and third images show how a disc injury and bone degeneration “spur” can add pressure on the nerve. Causing that “pinch” in a nerve impingement.
The image above is showing a group of muscles in the neck called the scalenes. These muscles are very important because nerves from our neck exit through them.
Overuse of the scalene muscles, injury or protective tension in them, can lead to the formation of fibrous ADHESION between the nerve and scalenes….pinching the nerve down in place.
ADHESION… THE GLUE IN YOUR MUSCLES
Remember the food analogy where a “piece of food” prevents “dental floss” from gliding properly?
Well.. that food is ADHESION!
There’s that word again, ADHESION, what are you talking about?
Fibrous adhesion acts as “glue” that builds up between your muscles and nerves.
As the adhesion forms (see the image below), it acts like “glue” decreasing the muscles flexibility and preventing the nerve from “flossing” smoothly. This will lead to an increase in nerve-like symptoms including but not limited to pins and needles, numbness and severe muscle tension/spasm.
Ok, so now you may be saying, “ I may have this pinched nerve in my neck, which is being made worse by adhesion.” How do you know you have adhesion that sticks to the nerves in your neck and makes your symptoms worse?
Here is a very simple and “dirty” way to check yourself.
In the image below what you want to do is stand in a neutral position. Bring your left ear to your left shoulder (this will be checking for adhesion on the RIGHT side of your neck) Finally, with your left hand grab your right wrist and pull is down. What do you feel?
Do you have tension in your neck? Is it sharp? Tingling? Numbing? Is it going down your back? If you answered, yes to any of the above, you probably have adhesion pinning down a nerve in your neck contributing to your “pinched nerve.”
A skilled diagnostician and doctor will be able to feel the various areas to determine “the amount of glue”, diagnose your condition, reproduce the symptoms with tests, and communicate where your nerve is being pinched, and begin to ease your symptoms in 3-5 visits when the nerve has not been irritated for long.
If you’ve ignored these symptoms, your nerve will continue to be upset with you, and you should expect to be having more days where you wake up with these symptoms.
Listen to your body and help “unpinch” your nerves today.
If you think you might be a candidate for the PERMANENT pain relief we offer at Barefoot Rehab, give us a call at 862-205-4847 to speak with one of our patient advocates and take the next steps and see if you qualify!