Can acupuncture treat pinched nerves?

by Linyana Gipson

Pinched nerve, acupuncture for pinched nerve, harlem, uptown, new york

Cervical Nerve Impingement or Pinched Nerve

Before answering the question, lets get the breakdown of a pinched nerve.

Cervical nerve impingement is basically the result of too much pressure being placed on a nerve root. The pressure can be caused by surrounding tissues, a bulging disc, a lesion, bones, or muscles and tendons.

A nerve root is an extension (like a tree branch) of the spinal cord that travels to the extremities. Healthy and functional nerves are important because they act as a communication system throughout our body giving us the ability to contract muscles, move our body willingly, allows rapid reflexes, and provides us with sensory capabilities to communicate with our brain.

Lets dig a little deeper into the anatomy of the neck

The cervical (neck) area of the spinal region consists of 7 vertebrae (labeled C1-C7); each vertebra has a branch that emerges from the spinal cord through a small opening (intervertebral foramen).

At a certain point, the nerve roots join to form cervical plexus and brachial plexus that supplies innervation to the neck, trunk and upper extremities.

Major nerves of the arms are median nerve, ulna nerve and radial nerve. When a patient has pain in the neck region it may not necessarily be caused by an injured nerve root, it could be caused by injury of the plexus, a trunk of that plexus or a named nerve.

Symptoms experienced with pinched nerves

Primary symptoms of a pinched nerve can include decreased cervical range of motion, local pain of the posterior neck, numbness and tingling of the hands and fingers, weakness, and muscle atrophy with severe damage.

Without imaging, an acupuncturist can test motor function, reflexes and sensory recognition to predict the location of nerve root impingement.

Testing motor function is very important to determine what nerves and nerve roots may be affected.

Below are actions of cervical spinal nerves for motor function:

  • C1-C6 controls neck flexion (head facing downward with chin toward chest)
  • C1-T1 controls neck extension (head facing up)
  • C5, C6 moves the shoulder, raises the arm, and flexes the elbow
  • C6 externally rotates the arm
  • C6, C7 extends the elbow and wrist
  • C7, C8 provides wrist flexion, and supply small muscles of the hand

Many people with pinched nerves of the neck also experience numbness and tingling in the fingers. The location of the numbness gives an indication for nerve root involvement as well. For instance, if there’s numbness and tingling affecting the “pinky finger”, C8 nerve root is typically involved.

Treatment for pinched nerve

  • Cervical collar
  • Resting or decreasing activity that exacerbates pain
  • Warm compression
  • Massage or chiropractic adjustment
  • Steroid injection, muscle relaxant, analgesics
  • Acupuncture for pinched nerve of the neck

Acupuncture is a superior source for treating pinched nerves.

It helps to decrease inflammation in the area, decreases numbness and tingling, brings energy and blood flow to the areas injured, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and acupuncture has lasting effects.

If you have a pinched nerve that is causing pain, get treated. Call Now to schedule an appointment today.