Pinched Nerve? Physical Therapy can help fast!

By: Cole Monson

What is a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This type of pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness.

Pinched nerves have several key symptoms:

  • Radiating pain through the neck or lower back
  • Shooting pain through the leg or foot if the pinched nerve is in the lower back
  • Shooting pain through the shoulder or arm if the pinched nerve is in the neck
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling sensations
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, due to the pinched nerve controlling specific muscles
  • Burning or “hot and cold” sensations

Physical therapy is often a great option to help deal with the symptoms of a pinched lower back nerve. Your physical therapist will design a program fit for your needs. They can do active or passive treatments depending on the level of your pinched nerve. Physical therapy will work to increase strength and flexibility. Increased strength in your muscles and more flexibility will support the part of the body where the nerve is pinched. Once that starts, the nerve can heal.

Physical therapists often do not recommend exercising the pinched nerve out on your own. You always have a chance of injuring yourself further when not doing proper healing exercises. However, simply taking it easy on the affected area can be very effective in allowing the nerve to heal. Increasing muscle strength and flexibility will also help to support the area around the pinched nerve.