Have you ever been diagnosed with a “pinched nerve”? Have you ever wondered what causes a nerve to become pinched or trapped? Pinched nerves are usually diagnosed in association with neck and shoulder pain, or low back pain. But this vague diagnosis, accompanied by a hurried drug prescription, fails to illuminate what is actually pinching the nerve.

As nerves branch off the spinal cord within the spine, they must pass through numerous canals in the body to reach their respective target. The first canal a nerve faces is the tiny hole between any two vertebrae. It is a canal made up of the bony vertebrae and the cartilage disc that separates them. If the vertebrae themselves are displaced or shifted by even a tiny amount, pressure is placed on the nerve and it begins to suffer.

It is important to know that the initial impingement cannot usually be felt because only a small fraction of the nerve carries pain messages. However, when this squeezing irritation breaches a “pain threshold”, a symptom emerges. Depending on which fibers within the nerves are being compressed, symptoms may include: sharp, darting pain originating in the neck or low back that radiates down the course of the nerve into the shoulder or buttock; dull aches right at the source; or even tight and sore muscles.

These symptoms are there to let you know there is a problem. The real health issue is not the pain, but rather the damage that the body incurs as the nerve messages are choked off from their intended destinations. Over time, the organs in your body begin to lose their proper function…and the pain usually worsens as well.

Quite obviously, if a nerve is being trapped, pinched, or impinged, wouldn’t it make sense to find out what is causing the pinching? I am appalled at the number of patients I meet who have been given painkillers or anti-inflammatories as a treatment for these types of health issues. Wouldn’t that mask the problem and allow great damage to be done over time? Would you place tape over a blinking engine light? Then why would you accept that solution for your own body?