Pinched spinal nerves is a common injury caused by a car accident, especially in conjunction with a whiplash injury. Pinched nerves typically occur in the neck and lower back because they are the most vulnerable regions of the spine. To understand how nerve injuries occur from car accidents is to understand the anatomy of the spine and nerves.
Your nervous system is composed of your brain, spinal cord and nerves. The brain is housed in the skull while the spinal cord is encased in the spinal column, or spine. Each nerve exits the spinal cord as a spinal nerve through holes (foramen) in the spine between all vertebra from the neck to the tail bone. As pictured above in yellow, the spinal nerves from the neck leave the spine and join with other spinal nerves to create peripheral nerves or nerves that go to the body. Every muscle in your body is controlled by nerves. So are reflexes, sensation and pain. When a nerve is pinched or injured, these functions are disrupted.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve
Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck include radiating pain, numbness or tingling down one or both arms, diminished reflexes in one or both arms, altered sensation in one or both arms, and/or weakness of specific muscles in one or both arms. Similar symptoms are present with a pinched nerve in the lower back, except the symptoms will be in the legs. With a pinched nerve in the lower back, you may also experience urinary or fecal incontinence which dictates a medical emergency. If this symptom is present, go to the emergency room immediately.
A pinched nerve may be the result of any of the following:
1. Mechanical issue in the spine such as a misalignment or subluxation that impinges the nerve
2. Muscular entrapment of the nerve such as a nerve impingement or an active trigger point
3. Postural changes such as Upper Crossed Syndrome which leads to rounded shoulders which can cause nerve impingement
4. Direct injury to the nerve such as over stretching
All of the above causes of pinched nerves can occur following a car accident; most commonly as a result of a whiplash injury. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and are experiencing the symptoms of a pinched nerve, seek evaluation and treatment from a chiropractor. The doctors at Pro Chiropractic are well trained in evaluating, diagnosing and treating nerve injuries. Call today!
If you or someone you know in the Gallatin Valley area is looking for a chiropractor or is suffering from a pinched nerve following a car accident, please call Dr. Shea Stark with Pro Chiropractic at 406-219-2462 to schedule an appointment in our Bozeman office. Dr. Stark is a board certified sports chiropractor and the author of this blog post. To learn more about Dr. Stark and the many benefits of chiropractic care, please visit our website: www.prochiromt.com.