Your nerves communicate messages all over your body, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. When you suffer from a pinched nerve due to overuse, trauma, incorrect posture, or even gradual deterioration of your body, your brain hears the message loud and clear!
A pinched nerve may occur in a specific place and you may experience symptoms there, but it has the potential to send those pain signals to other parts of your body. Pinched nerves can happen pretty much anywhere, most commonly in the spine. But that pain isn't limited to only the spine, and can travel all throughout your body.
The Cervical Spine
The top 7 vertebrae of your spine, or the cervical spine, serves many purposes. The cervical spine protects the bundle of nerves that extend from the brain into the neck and upper and middle back. The cervical spine also supports your head and its movements. It also has the task of facilitating blood flow to the brain.
If you suffer from a pinched nerve in the cervical spine, the sensations in the neck, head, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers can be directly affected. You may feel tingling sensations in your hands and arms. Sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow are a result from a pinched nerve in the neck.
The Thoracic Spine
Located in the middle back/rib cage area is the thoracic spine. A pinched nerve in this area of the spine is often due to a bulging or herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Symptoms from a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine can be felt in the shoulder blades, upper abdomen, and chest.
It's possible that patients will experience pain they wouldn't normally associate with a pinched nerve, such as diaphragm or kidney pain, or tingling around the rib cage. Some even mistake those feelings for pneumonia, an anxiety attack, or a heart attack. If those conditions are ruled out and you are still experiencing symptoms, consider that a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine may be to blame.
The Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine is the lowest portion of the back. The sciatica, one of the most common areas to experience a pinched nerve, is located in the lumbar spine. Pinched nerves in this area of the spine can cause pain in the buttocks that can be felt down the legs and even into the feet and toes. They can also cause discomfort and pain in the lower back and hips.
Sciatica causes numbness, tingling, and searing or throbbing pain. It occurs when the large sciatic nerve is pinched, either by the piniformis muscle of the buttocks or by a disc. No matter the cause, you may experience weakness in the legs and even trouble walking.
Your Health and Wellness
When you are suffering from pain, even when it's localized, both your physical and emotional health are affected. Pain can cause you to become frustrated, leading you to be irritable and short-tempered, and making it hard to do your day-to-day activities.
Some nerve pain issues will cause you to compensate for the pain by changing your gait, skipping movement altogether, or shortening your range of motion. These adjustments may seem slight, but they can lead to compensatory muscle imbalances and injuries. Additionally, you may start to experience the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle, including weight gain, poor stamina, and the increased risk of chronic disease.
If you think you might be suffering from a pinched nerve or are experiencing pain that doesn't resolve, give us a call today. Don't cover up the symptoms with over-the-counter medications and compromised movements. We can help you free up those nerves so they can function as they should!