When a nerve becomes pinched, you can experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as numbness (called anaesthesia), pain, tingling (which is known as paraesthesia or ‘pins and needles’), weakness and other issues along the nerve’s specific path throughout your body.
If the pinched nerve is more severely compromised, you might even see weakness or wasting of the muscles where pain is present, suggesting permanent injury.
Is Massage Therapy an Option for Nerve Pain?
The first choice most pinched nerve sufferers will consider is massage therapy.
This is due to the fact that massage benefits are innumerable for those with physical aches and pains, especially in moving joints.
Do you think massage benefits exist for a compressed, damaged or pinched nerve? Let’s find out by learning everything there is to know about the pinched nerve.
Types of Pinched Nerves
As you probably already know, the nerves in your body are located in such a way that they can carry electrochemical signals to and from the brain to all parts of the body.
To understand the importance of these nerves within your body, think of them as tiny electrical cords that help power movement, function and feeling to all your parts.
Motor and Sensory Nerves in the Body
There are two basic types of nerves, afferent, which are motor nerves, and efferent, which are sensory nerves.
Motor nerves are responsible for sending information to the brain regarding organs and muscles, while sensory nerves send information about pain as well as touch, temperature, taste and other common sensations.
How a Pinched Nerve Occurs
A pinched nerve occurs when one of these nerves are somehow injured or damaged by compression or direct pressure.
This prevents the nerve from being able to send and receive important sensory and motor signals. While there are several locations in the body for a nerve to become compressed or damaged, some are more commonly associated with this type of injury.
Common Pinched Nerve Locations
A compressed or pinched nerve can occur just about anywhere in the body and at any time but the most common locations include the ones listed below with their common causes:
- Neck, often caused by arthritis, bone spurs, herniated discs or spinal stenosis
- Wrist, most likely cause is compression of median nerve, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Elbow, compression of the ulnar nerve, leading to cubital tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder, pinched nerve in upper spine, also called cervical radiculopathy
- Buttocks, compression of the sciatic nerve which can cause sciatica
- Lower back, often caused by arthritis, bone spurs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal where nerve is located), sciatica
It is important to note that a pinched nerve does not lead to local pain. Instead, this type of injury causes pain that radiates to other areas in the body.
For example, damage to the sciatic nerve located in the buttocks region of the body can cause pain and discomfort to radiate down the right leg, all the way to your third and fourth toes.
Best Treatments for a Pinched Nerve
The first steps to treating a pinched nerve include rest and switching between hot and cold compresses to the location of the pain, alternating every ten minutes.
Next, those suffering with pinched nerve pain might try over the counter medication, massage, and in some cases, physical therapy.
Regardless of the above treatments you choose for the pinched nerve, activity modification is also used to help prevent further injury or discomfort.
Reduce Pain with Massage Therapy
While it isn’t likely to heal your pinched nerve, massage therapy can help by relieving some of the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
Massage benefits can be seen when a deep and even pressure is applied to the pinched nerve or the area associated with nerve pain. This is due to the fact that massage is known to build focus and reduce stress or anxiety caused by symptoms of pain.
Your massage therapy should run no longer than thirty minutes to one hour, which is normally enough to bring relaxation to the affected area.
After your massage, remember to do some post-stretching and avoid heavy lifting. Vigorous activities are also discouraged but pinched nerve sufferers should try to drink plenty of water.