Is Massage Good for Treating a Pinched Nerve?
When it comes to massage, pinched nerve is one of the conditions when this therapy can be of use. The manual manipulations and gentle pressure during a massage session improve the circulation of blood, relax the tissues, promote healing, and provide pain relief. Massage is beneficial in many ways, but if you want to learn whether it's a recommended choice for your pinched nerve, start reading now.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Before we answer the question "Can massage help a pinched nerve?" we have to discuss the causes of this painful condition and the common symptoms you can encounter. Nerve sufferers know how terrifying nerve pain can be and how it can negatively affect your daily activities. So, why does it appear, and is there a way to get relief from pain?
One of the most common reasons behind this nerve issue is muscle strain. It can happen to anyone, and it's as unexpected as it gets. The causes can range from lifting and carrying objects, working out without doing stretching exercises, doing sports, or any other physical activity you can think of. These movements cause strain to the connective tissue of your muscles, and thankfully it's a reversible situation.
Other reasons for a pinched nerve are herniated spinal discs, spinal stenosis, and arthritis. Spinal stenosis is a condition that tightens the canal where the spinal cord is located and can compress the nearby nerves. In the case of the conditions mentioned above, the issue is in the hard tissues that pressure the nerve root, not the soft tissues. The changes in the bones cause pressure to the spinal nerves, which results in chronic pain, poor posture, loss of sensation, painful pressure, etc.
As you can see, nerve compression can occur due to pressure caused by muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, etc. Some of the conditions that can lead to this include injuries, inflammation, health conditions (herniated discs, arthritis), stress, physical activity, obesity, etc. The spectrum of causes is quite wide, and the treatment will depend on the reason and the types of nerves that are affected. You can only know whether you require chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy, medication, or invasive procedures after consulting a doctor.
In general, if the changes are caused by a temporary spasm and the tissues go back to their normal size and place, you'll experience pain relief. However, if the nerve symptoms persist, and you don't ask for professional help, you can end up with permanent nerve damage.
Common Pinched Nerve Locations
Although this is a common condition and can happen in every part of the body, a few nerves are more prone to pinching.
- Occipital nerves: these nerves can be pinched by neck muscles, tendons, and other surrounding tissues. It will result in neck pain, and one of the ways to treat it and get nerve pain relief is with a neck and back massager.
- Median nerve: this nerve is located at the upper limb, and it's the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Sciatic nerve: sciatic pain is located in the lower back area and also affects the leg or legs.
- Ulnar nerve: this nerve is responsible for a condition called cervical radiculopathy.
- C3 to C8: this condition, also known as cervical radiculopathy, causes shoulder pain that radiates towards the entire arm.
Can Massage Therapy Help a Pinched Nerve?
Is massage good for pinched nerve? This is a complex question because it depends on numerous factors. Before you rush to schedule a massage session with your massage therapist, you should talk to your doctor and discover the source of your pain. You'll need a skilled therapist to analyze your symptoms, set a diagnosis, and recommend you a source of treatment.
A body massage is one of the most common non-invasive nerve treatments because it relaxes the tissues, promotes better blood circulation, treats a muscle spasm, tense, sore muscles, and provides effective relief in painful situations. The type of massage will depend on your issue, but in most cases, it's either a soft tissue gentle massage (Swedish massage) or a deep tissue massage. Always turn to certified physical therapists who have plenty of experience.
The truth is that massage can be an effective treatment in numerous cases with pinched nerves when the nerves are compressed by soft tissue. For example, lower back pinched nerve massage can be effective if soft tissues cause the issue. Licensed massage therapists might also help you if a bone compresses the nerve, but you'll also need to discuss other treatment options with your doctor. In this case, the massage can only provide temporary pain relief.
The benefits of massage are quite diverse and include increased blood flow for faster healing and fighting inflammation, dealing with tense muscles, muscle pain, sore muscle, anti-stress therapy, improved range of movement, etc.
Pinched Nerve Treatment Options
What are the nerve treatment methods you can use if you've been struggling with a pinched nerve? After getting a diagnosis for your medical condition, the therapist will recommend a course of medical treatment.
Over-the-counter medication can be helpful for temporary relief from pain and discomfort. However, this is not a permanent solution, and you should only get medication prescribed by your doctor.
An epidural steroid injection is a recommended course of action for some patients with spinal stenosis or compressed nerves in your spinal cord.
Proper Stretching and Exercising
A consistent exercise routine can help maintain a proper posture and fight tight muscles or muscle weakness. Remember to practice gentle stretching before and after your exercise sessions to avoid injuries and strains. Not having a regular exercise program can make your symptoms worse and promote bad posture. Most medical care professionals recommend low-impact exercise during your recovery period, but a professional should preferably guide your workouts.
If you just started feeling pain, grab an ice pack and place it on the area. You should protect your skin by applying a towel in between, or you can also wrap the pack. Wait for 15 minutes before resting for half an hour.
Once the pain starts going away, you can switch to heated packs. Like massage, they tend to relax the tissues and promote blood flow.
Pinched nerve massage therapy is an effective way for many people to deal with pain and suffering caused by a compressed nerve. However, it's not always the recommended course of action, and you should consult your doctor before going to a massage therapist. If your question was, "Should I get massage for a pinched nerve in the back?" after reading this text, you understand that the answer primarily depends on what caused the compression and what your doctor will prescribe. The good thing is that you can always enjoy the multiple massage benefits, even if it's not a cure for your nerve issue.