Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pinched Nerve in the Neck - What to do?

A stiff neck from sleeping funny or bad posture can be a bit of a pain, but for some people with neck problems, it takes on a whole new dimension. A pinched nerve in the neck can be exceedingly painful, so much so that sufferers are often forced to essentially take a break from their lives to recover and get relief from the pain. Here I hope to present a sort of “guide” for someone that believes they have a pinched nerve. But remember, if you are in severe pain, the best route to take is to see an NYC doctor about the problem right away.

Are there any surefire signs of a pinched nerve in the neck?

There is no “absolute” in terms of a pinched nerve in the neck, also called radiculopathy. However, there are some tell-tale signs that may indicate nerve impingement in the cervical vertebrae. That being said, only the proper medical tests like nerve conduction tests and EMG can tell if nerve impulses are indeed being interrupted. They include:

  • Headaches in back of head

  • Upper shoulder pain

  • Burning pain

  • Tingling, pins & needles in middle, ringer or little finger

What exactly is going on in a pinched nerve?

Although the physical mechanism can vary from place to place, the common thread in all types of radiculopathy is a nerve that is functioning improperly. It may be due to a herniated disc or scar tissue or a muscular problem, but in each case, a nerve is impinged by surrounding tissue and becomes inflamed, affecting its performance and often causing pain/disability.

What are the treatments for a pinched nerve?

At Living Well Medical in NYC, we have several different therapies available on-site that can help reduce inflammation, pain and swelling. In cases caused by a herniated disc, cervical spinal decompression is one of the more cutting edge treatments we use. It’s a next generation technology that can pinpoint individual spinal discs and may be able to stop the pain completely.

For other causes that are myofascial (related to muscles or the fascia), manual therapies like Active Release Technique, physical therapy and traditional gentle chiropractic methods might be more effective in treating the pinched nerve.

I’m pretty sure I have a nerve problem. What should I do?

The main point is to seek help and get the tests done to find out for sure. X-rays, EMGs and nerve tests can be done by our pain management doctors, and we have a vast referral network if you should need an MRI. But don’t wait. If you would like to speak to one of our experts, call Living Well Medical in NYC’s SoHo/NoHo area at (212) 645-8151.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor