1. Health

Video:What Is a Pinched Nerve?

with Dr. Robert Fenell

Learn what a pinched nerve is, so that you can seek treatment for this painful condition if necessary. Here is more information on a pinched nerve, including symptoms and treatment options.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Health Videos
  • Arthritis Videos

Transcript:What Is a Pinched Nerve?

Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell, Founder of HandAndFootClinicsOfAmerica.com, and I'm here today on behalf of About.com to talk to you about pinched nerves.

Two Types of Pinched Nerves

A pinched nerve can cause symptoms either locally, exactly where the site of entrapment of the nerve is, or it can cause symptoms that are distal, which radiate from that pinched nerve site down the arm, or down the leg or to other parts of the body. I have a spine model here that shows the nervous system as it passes out from between each of the spinal vertebrae, from the spinal column.

If we take a close look at two of the vertebrae, you'll see a spinal nerve passing out one side, and also out of the opposite side. These nerves branch out and go to all of the muscles, cells, glands and organs of the entire body. If two vertebrae lose their healthy alignment, it can impinge or pinch the nerve, causing pain at that local area, or at a site that's distant to where that nerve is being pinched.

Visual Demonstration of a Pinched Nerve

I'm going to show this on a smaller model set of the spine. Here I have two of the lower spine vertebrae: the L4 and the L5, or 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. These vertebrae are held together by elastic so it's very easy for me to demonstrate what a pinched nerve looks like.

You'll notice this nerve right here becomes impinged between the top edge of this bone and the back lower edge of this bone, as this vertebrae rotates backward. It reduces the space from where that nerve passes, out of the spinal column. When that pinched nerve occurs, it can cause local pain, or pain that radiates to another part of the body.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is a Pinched Nerve Condition

Pinched nerves not only occur in the spine, but they can also occur in the hands and the feet. You see, if you lose the healthy alignment of the wrist bones or hand bones, it can impinge the nerves passing between the bones. There is a small tunnel in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel, and I'm sure you're aware of the condition Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is actually a pinched nerve condition in the hand and wrist, causing symptoms into the fingers of numbness, tingling and burning but it's the result of a pinched nerve in the carpal tunnel area. In the foot, you can also develop pinched nerves, leading to various syndromes and pain conditions as well.

Chiropractics Can Treat Pinched Nerves

Chiropractic is one of the most successful approaches to relieving the symptoms associated with a pinched nerve. A chiropractor is a specialist at diagnosing exactly which vertebrae is rotated, pinching the nerve, and by placing his or her hand on the appropriate location, they can gently guide that bone back into its healthy alignment thus relieving the pressure from the pinched nerve.

Other Treatment Options for Pinched Nerves

There are other options available for patients who experience pain from pinched nerves. They include non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications; you can also take steroidal medications by prescription with a more severe condition; sometimes a doctor will even elect to do a cortisone injection or a pain reliever injection in the neck or back right where that nerve is being impinged, if it is a severe enough case. Be certain to consult your chiropractor or primary care physician if you fear you might be suffering with symptoms related to a pinched nerve.

Thank you for watching this video. If you would like to find out more about this topic, please visit us online at About.com.

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.