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Physical therapist examining cause of pain in elbow

Identifying and Treating Pain From Nerve Entrapment

What is it?

Your nerves arise from your spinal cord and travel all the way through the your arms and legs.  As your nerves travel through your body, they must pass through muscles, over bones, and under ligaments. When things are working properly, your nerves slide and glide along their course and allow you to move seamlessly. Sometimes the pathway becomes blocked and does not allow the nerve to glide properly. When this happens your nerve becomes entrapped.

Why does it happen?

Nerve entrapment pain occurs because a nerve is being compressed or stuck within the surrounding tissue which prevents it from sliding and gliding properly. When this happens, your nerve might become stretched or pinched as you move. This can happen at various points as the nerve travels from the spine to the extremities. It can also occur for a variety of reasons. Nerve pain can be experienced as shooting, tingling or numbness, or burning pain. It may feel like an electric shock. You may also experience decreased strength in the affected body part. 

Determine the cause!

If you are experiencing nerve pain due to a nerve entrapment there are various treatment options that may help you. It may be due to a muscle spasm (like the spasms that occur with piriformis syndrome), excessive scar tissue build up after an injury, or another reason. Your physical therapist can help determine the cause of the nerve tension. Once the cause is identified, your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan.

Take action!

Depending on the cause of the nerve entrapment Your treatment plan may consist of a specialized set of exercises to gently glide the nerve through the restrictions. This will allow the nerve to begin to freely move again preventing your nerve from becoming pinched or stretched.

If, for example, it is determined that a tightness in a muscle is creating the nerve entrapment then your physical therapist might recommend a series of stretching techniques. This will help loosen the muscle around the nerve and prevent the muscle from squeezing the nerve as it passes through the muscle fiber.

There are various other treatment methods that can be employed to help someone suffering from a nerve entrapment. Physical therapy can help if you have a nerve entrapment. If you think you may have a nerve entrapment, contact us to schedule an initial evaluation.

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