Phone: 613-672-2200

Pinched Nerves Physiotherapy: Symptoms & Treatment

Pinched nerves can cause a range of symptoms such as pain, tingling, and numbness. Physiotherapy can help to alleviate the pressure on the nerve and improve the associated symptoms through exercises, stretches, and manual therapy.

As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.

Are you feeling numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms, hands, legs, or feet? You might be suffering from a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is an injury or irritation to a nerve caused by direct pressure from surrounding tissues, such as bones, muscles, tendons, or cartilage. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of pinched nerves and how to get relief from the pain.

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pinched nerves are a common source of pain and other symptoms that can arise from numerous causes. A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve or group of nerves resulting in decreased functionality and mobility. The causes of nerve pinching can range from direct trauma to an overuse injury and medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.

The symptoms associated with pinched nerves vary depending on the type of nerve affected but typically include numbness, tingling, burning sensations, muscle weakness and pain that radiates along the nerve. Physiotherapy is often recommended for pinched nerves as it can help reduce pain levels while increasing mobility and restoring strength. 

Nerves are made up of specialized cells that carry messages between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of your body's tissues. Nerves allow the ability to feel touch and to move as well as to maintain the performance of unconscious movements like breathing and pumping blood.

When the nervous system is compromised, by a pinch on a nerve, these functions are changed or impaired. As a result, you may lose the ability to move or contract a certain muscle or the ability to feel normal sensations. You may feel pain, numbness or tingling instead.

A good analogy is to think of a neural pathway like a garden hose. When all is well, the water (neural messages) flow through effectively. When the nerve is pinched, it is as if someone is stepping on that hose. The pathway for messages to flow through is fully or partially interrupted. Pressure from surrounding tissues (cartilage, bones, muscles, or tendons) causes irritation on the nerves and impedes their ability to send messages. If a nerve is pinched repetitively or, for a prolonged period permanent damage or chronic pain can result.

Causes Of Pinched Nerves

Pinched nerves are a common problem that can be caused by a variety of issues. Nerve compression, nerve entrapment, spinal misalignment, and nerve pressure are all potential causes of pinched nerves. Understanding the various causes is essential in order to determine the best course of action for treatment.

Nerve compression typically occurs when something puts direct pressure on a nerve such as a tight muscle or an inflamed tendon pressing on the nerve. Nerve entrapment occurs when a nerve is caught between two hard structures, such as bone or ligament. Spinal misalignment means when one or more vertebrae in the spine have shifted out of their correct position, resulting in an increased amount of pressure being put on the nerves within that area. Nerve pressure refers to a decrease in available space around a nerve due to swelling or excess fluid accumulation.

Treating pinched nerves requires identifying the cause and then taking steps to reduce the pressure on the affected nerve. Physiotherapy can be beneficial in helping to identify any underlying conditions and developing an appropriate treatment plan which may include stretching and strengthening exercises, massage therapy, joint mobilisation and manipulation techniques, ultrasound therapy, postural correction strategies and other forms of manual therapy depending on the individual’s needs.

Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist can identify which nerve is pinched by assessing the symptoms and their location as well as testing your nerves through motor and sensory ability as well as reflexes. They can then help to alleviate pressure on the nerve by trying to increase space around the nerve or the pathways that the nerve runs through. This can be done through a combination of joint traction and mobilization, soft tissue release and activating stability muscles supporting the area through the use of specialized exercises. Nervous system flossing or stretching exercises may also be prescribed. Discussion around lifestyle changes and finding positions of comfort or ease may also be of value.

Registered Massage Therapy can also be indicated in the treatment of a pinched nerve. Massage Therapy can help relieve muscle tension that may be putting pressure on nerves and can also help to release muscles that have tightened up due to improper nerve conduction.

Contact Us For Help

Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence-based practices of manual and exercise therapy. Don’t suffer any longer.  If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy, and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to living pain-free life and activities.  Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or for an appointment today! You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.


Related conditions

Browse conditions