Nerve Pain and Injury
Nerve pain is a broad term for a variety of conditions causing symptoms such as pins and needles, burning, electric shocks, weakness or numbness. These conditions can affect the legs, arms or face.
A ‘pinched’ nerve is a common term used to describe an experience of nerve like pain. This experience can happen anywhere in the body but the most frequently seen is the sciatic nerve or the nerves running from the neck to the arm. When the sciatic nerve located in the back is sensitized this will often result in referred leg pain. This may be caused by something non-structural like overstretching, local swelling or sensitivity of the nerve or it could be something more structural like an arthritic spur or disc protrusion. The term ‘pinched’ is really only a true description when there is a structural impingement on the nerve. This only happens in a small percentage of cases when an individual is experiencing nerve pain.
A pinched nerve in the neck can cause arm weakness, pain, and altered reflexes. Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck can often be confused with other common conditions such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rotator cuff injuries.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on your median nerve which runs through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Symptoms include pins and needles, numbness and pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome has many causes, including anything that causes swelling in the wrist such as arthritis or repetitive hand movements.
Tennis elbow is an injury to the muscles that are responsible for extending the wrist and fingers. The injury usually occurs on the bony bump located on the outside of the elbow where the muscles attach. Tennis elbow usually causes pain when performing gripping tasks and wrist or finger extensions. Tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive tasks such as painting, typing or repetitive gripping and can be a result of poor muscle strength or poor technique during certain physical activities.
Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff injuries are a common shoulder problem. The shoulder joint is relatively unstable in structure compared to other joints in the body to allow for the large range of motion required at the joint. The joint consists of a ball and socket joint which is controlled by a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff. The muscle and tendons in this area are vulnerable to tears and other injuries, depending on the loads placed upon them. A rotator cuff injury can include mild inflammation or tendinitis, local shoulder bursitis or more severe injuries such as partial or complete tears.
Symptoms of Nerve Injury
There are many symptoms that can be caused by nerve problems. Some symptoms can indicate that the nerve is inflamed by sending signals such as:
- Pins and needles
- Increased sensitivity
- Burning sensations
Other nerve injury symptoms can indicate that the nerve has become compressed or its signals are being blocked or interfered with. These symptoms may include:
- Reduced reflexes
Physio Nerve Treatment
A highly skilled physiotherapist can treat many conditions related to nerve pain, including carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, chronic pain, referred pain, and restless legs. Nerve physiotherapy aims to improve the environment of the nerve with manual therapy, including dry needling. It also aims to prevent any future nerve problems by teaching corrective exercises to deload the affected nerve structures.
Nerve physiotherapy is an effective way to treat and manage many different types of nerve pain and injury. Como physiotherapy has highly trained and qualified physios who provide expert care to patients. Physio nerve treatment identifies the cause of the nerve pain and applies treatment techniques to help relieve pressure, pain, and discomfort, returning the patient to their normal activities as quickly as possible.