- By: Dr. John Stenberg
- Date: Jun 13, 2019
How Does a Pinched Nerve in the Neck Respond to Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
Understanding Pinched Nerves in The Neck
Pinched nerves in neck are not only painful but may cause functional limitations in the use of the shoulders, arms, and hands. In order to understand how to find lasting relief from the aggravating symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck, it’s important to understand what the potential causes may be. Identifying the specific cause of your pinched nerve is essential for appropriate treatment.
Cervical radiculopathy is the diagnostic term for a pinched nerve in the neck, and it is often confused with other similar conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Nerves can become “pinched” or compressed as they exit the spine when the structural integrity of the spinal segments become compromised. As an effect of a structural cause, treatments that target the structural issues of the cervical spine are most effective for the conditions that arise because of nerve irritation.’
Conservative and effective treatment options are available for people suffering with the negative effects of pinched nerves in the neck.
Pinched Nerve in The Neck – Common Symptoms
Nerve fibers originate in the brain and serve as the “electrical wires” of the body by keeping tissues, organs, and muscles connected and functioning in harmony. Just like the wiring in your house, these vital circuits are constantly working to provide electrical energy to the various parts of the body for them to do their job.
When nerves become pinched or compressed as they exit the spine, irritation and a loss of function is likely to result. This eventually leads to the onset of one or more symptoms such as:
- numbness and tingling in the fingers and hands
- decreased grip or muscle strength
- burning pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand
These symptoms are signals indicating that the nerve is being irritated along its path from the neck. A series of nerves branch off as they exit the neck and travel down the arm called the brachial plexus. These nerves pass through the segments of the neck along their course down the arms and are commonly impacted by improper alignment and mechanics.
If you experience the symptoms listed above, you may be experiencing a pinched nerve in the neck. Other risk factors include:
- history of cervical spine trauma (concussion, car accident/whiplash, jarring movements of the head/neck)
- limited or painful movements of the head and neck
- Gradual onset with an unclear mechanism of injury
Pinched Nerve in The Neck – Common Causes
So, what causes nerves to become pinched, compressed, or impinged in the neck? There are a variety of causes and understanding what is causing your condition is essential for appropriate treatment.
Insidious causes of pinched nerves in the neck include bone tumor or infection, spinal cord swelling/compression (myelopathy), spinal meningitis, and disc extrusion. These are rare conditions but can be dangerous if left undetected and treated. If you are also experiencing the following symptoms, seek out immediate medical attention:
- Rapid and acute onset
- Fever or recent infection
- Unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and deep gnawing pain at night
The vast majority or pinched nerves in the neck have benign causes and are treatable with conservative approaches. More common causes of pinched nerves in the neck include:
- Spinal arthritis (degenerative joint disease)
- Disc bulge or herniation (“slipped disc”)
- Spinal stenosis
- Cervical spine subluxation (misalignment)
- Anterior head carriage (“text neck”)
All the above listed conditions share a common characteristic; abnormal spinal alignment. The upper portion of the spine (cervical spine) is the most mobile part of the spine, and as such is susceptible to injury. When the segments of the neck shift out of alignment, irritation and inflammation occur as a side effect of improper movement. This irritation affects the sensitives tissues that support and surround the segments of the neck including the discs, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves.
Abnormal alignment and mechanics of the cervical spine is the first step in the development of spinal arthritis, disc degeneration, and postural changes in head and neck position.
What To Do About Pinched Nerves in The Neck in Colorado Springs
Most conventional treatments for pinched nerves in the neck focus on symptom alleviation and include muscle relaxers, heat or ice, stretching/strengthening, or other pharmaceutical or herbal remedies. By focusing on symptom alleviation, these approaches are focused on a short term “patch” rather than a long-term correction.
When these options have been exhausted, more invasive procedures such as nerve ablation and spinal surgery enter the picture.
Many individuals in Colorado Springs with pinched nerves in the neck have found lasting relief naturally and without drugs or surgery by addressing the underlying structural issue with upper cervical chiropractic care.
Unlike conventional chiropractic procedures, upper cervical chiropractic focuses on finding the problem and fixing it without twisting, popping, or cracking the neck or back. Using state of the art technology and technique a detailed upper cervical evaluation provides the blueprint of correction for everyone, providing individualized care that is focused on keeping you in alignment and not needing frequent adjustments to feel and function well! Dr. John Stenberg is one of three Doctors in Colorado Springs focusing in upper cervical chiropractic care.
Chiropractic Diagnostic Testing for Pinched Nerve in the Neck
Upper cervical chiropractors are trained in advanced imaging procedures including digital x-ray, cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify with precision where the alignment of the neck has shifted. This provides the blueprint for safe and effective adjustment to the neck without twisting, popping, or cracking the neck.
Along with imaging, a series of other tests may be performed in order to diagnose your condition and guide your treatment plan including:
- Nerve system testing (thermography, hear rate variability, surface electromyography)
- Postural evaluation
- Range of motion testing
- Orthopedic and neurological testing
- Functional testing (balance and coordination, muscle strength, etc.)
All this information provides the baseline data needed to conservatively correct the underlying structural issues in the neck.
Pinched Nerve in the Neck – Adults in Colorado Springs
In the adult population, pinched nerves in the neck are more commonly related to spinal decay or degeneration. As arthritis develops or discs degenerate over time, a progression to pinched nerves is likely to occur. If left uncorrected for too long, some of these effects may become permanent and result in long term damage.
Even individuals with advanced spinal degeneration find relief with upper cervical chiropractic care and improving upon the mechanics and alignment of the neck at any age limits the risk of long-term damage. For younger adults who are experiencing the effects of pinched nerves in the neck, early treatment is important to maintain optimal performance and to prevent spinal degeneration over time.
Pinched Nerve in the Neck – Children in Colorado Springs
The most common cause of pinched or stretched nerves in the neck for children or teenagers is sports-related injuries. Infants may experience spinal subluxation or nerve irritation in the neck as a result of birth trauma (i.e. Klumpke’s Palsy) or forceful pulling on the head during delivery.
Young children may experience falls or blows to the head/neck as they develop leading to spinal misalignment and nerve irritation. These issues can be conservatively managed with upper cervical chiropractic care.
Teenagers are most likely to experience “stingers” or nerve related injuries to the head and neck during contact sports such as football, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, and basketball. Young athletes who are playing contact sports are at risk for upper cervical subluxation and should have a routine spinal checkup prior to participating in sports and at the conclusion of the season.
Chiropractic Management of Symptoms Related to Pinched Nerves in The Neck
While the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck may be scary and worrisome, conservative care is extremely effective in managing these conditions. The Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Society trains and certifies Doctors of Chiropractic in a comprehensive system of evaluation and treatment focused on the upper cervical spine. Dr. John Stenberg of Zenith Chiropractic in Colorado Springs is the only Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor in Colorado Springs.
Many patients have found lasting relief, improved functionality, and improved quality of life through Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic care. If you or a loved on is suffering with the negative effects of a pinched nerve in the neck, request a free consultation with Colorado Springs Chiropractor Dr. John Stenberg to find out if you are a candidate for care
A consultation is a simple conversation to determine if you are a candidate for care. It is not an examination or adjustment and there is no commitment or high-pressure sales pitch employed.