Trapped Nerve? Read the ESO Clinic Blog
Anyone experiencing a sudden sharp pain which lingers anywhere on the body, may describe their pain as a ‘trapped nerve’. Whilst this may be the case, many local pains are related to other structures such as muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments rather than nerves.
Nerves flow all around the body like a network of wires, exiting through bony canals and passing through muscles and connective tissue, so it is unsurprising that on occasions their pathway gets compromised. Due to the function of joints and arrangements of muscles, some areas of the body are prone to nerve issues and these are called ‘entrapment sites’. Nerve complaints can often be painful if irritated or impinged, classic examples are ‘sciatica’ or neck related shoulder and arm pain. Other symptoms other than pain maybe experienced such as pins and needles, numbness and weakness which may or may or may not be related to a local nerve compression. To add confusion, sometimes these symptoms may not be accompanied with pain so it is always prudent to have these complaints explored by a health professional.
Osteopathic training involves a thorough grounding in anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopaedics and pathology so osteopaths often know what questions to ask, where to look and how to test to help differentiate these symptoms, ultimately seeking a working diagnosis. If other more systemic causes for these symptoms are suspected then the practitioner may refer the patient to the GP for their opinion on further investigations such as blood tests, imaging or nerve conduction tests.
Initial treatment for most nerve issues is non-surgical and many irritated nerves can be treated effectively with soft tissue release techniques, gentle mobilisation, and decompression of affected areas. This combined with exercise prescription and tips for postural correction as required. Occasionally treatment may be accompanied using certain medications such as pain killers and anti-inflammatories as prescribed by the GP or pharmacist. Severe nerve compression can be more difficult to treat with manual techniques and stronger medications may be needed and in rare cases patients may need to be referred for a surgical opinion.
Condensed from a blog created by Robert Thomas, Osteopath and ESO Clinic Tutor & Ambassador. To read the blog in full please click here. To arrange an osteopathic consultation at the ESO Clinic Maidstone call 01622 685989.