What you need to know about a "Pinched Nerve"

A "pinched nerve" refers to a condition in which a nerve is compressed by surrounding tissue, such as ligament, cartilage, tendon or bone. The term "pinched nerve" is not a standard medical expression, but it's an intuitive expression that almost anyone will understand.  And frankly it's a term I don't love.  The "better" term to use in my chiropractic world is "Subluxation". 

You see, the spinal cord radiates down from the brain, down your spine and where the nerves start is all the little "off-ramps" from the spine to all other parts of the body. Signals are sent from and to the brain along these neuro-superhighways, and if a nerve is compressed/pinched/SUBLUXATED, it will interfere with proper signal transmission.

After the subluxation has been there for a LONG time it will manifest as pain, not only at the site of compression, but also radiating from that point to surrounding parts of the body - including the organs. The reason why I say "a long time" is because only 90-95% of the nerve system transmits pain, depending on which research article you are reading. Once that misalignment of the spine (aka subluxation) has pinched nerves long enough is when you get that grey-cloud- day when the back pain shows up.  As the subluxation gets more "pinchy" and chronic with time it often turns into a deadening ache or sensitivity along your arms (aka cervical radiculopathy) or legs (the notorious sciatica). Any pain of this sort is a warning signal that there is a problem that should be treated right away!  Like last week!

It gets even worse, because if left untreated, pinched nerves can lead to a loss of the protective barrier around the nerves which generates fluid buildup. And this fluid creates swelling, more pressure, more pain, and possibly scarring. When nerves have been scarred, they may no longer function properly. We want our nerve system to function for forever, they are the lifelines of our bodies!

Pain isn't the only indication of a pinched/subluxated nerve! This is where we come in and our fancy tests.  We have state of the art technology to detect subluxation, as well as X-ray analysis on site.  When combined with a detailed history and examination - frankly it pains a pretty vivid and clear picture of your bodies "Baseline" for health.

So what causes subluxation?  Simple: Thoughts, Traumas and Toxins.   Also known as the 3 T's!  These are sample lists because the lists could go on forever.  But you kinda get the idea right?


  • Mental Stress
  • Emotional Stress
  • Relationships
  • Financial Concerns
  • TRAFFIC (Dr Jay's biggest stress!)
  • Work Drama


  • Falling off a trampoline when you were little
  • Car Accidents (a big one these days)
  • Posture
  • Texting
  • The process of being born or giving birth (It does happen at both ends of the life-spectrum)
  • Sitting
  • Sports


  • What you drink (think flouride in water or friday nights beverages)
  • What you eat (yeah that Taco Bell binge in college counts)
  • What you breathe
  • What you swallow (probably the biggest offender of all: Rx Drugs!)

Somethings increase your susceptibility to subluxation.  Specifically if you have frequent Overuse-Repetitive actions, if you have been given a Dx of Rheumatoid arthritis-Inflammation of any kind obesity and/or increased body weight can increase pressure on nerves throughout the body and any history of bone spurs/thickening.

What has been done historically in the medical model?


Mainstream medicine frequently recommends drugs, including NSAIDs, oral corticosteroids, narcotics (for emergency, short-term pain relief) and steroid injections to treat the symptoms of a pinched nerve. Other mainstream medical treatments may include physical therapy, a splint to immobilize a limb to give it a bit of rest, or surgery. But I know my work will be done in the world when someone shows up at a doctor's office for a pinched nerve and before any of the above are given, the Medical doctor/personnel says "Well have you been checked for subluxation yet sir? Because this nervous system interference looks a lot like the subluxation stuff Chiropractors treat."

Your Longmont Chiropractor at New Leaf specializes in restoring proper function by clearing nervous system interference.  That's it.  That the adjustment.  With the pressure off the nerves there is rarely any need for drugs to cover up the symptom or cut the subluxation out with a surgery. Sometimes a single adjustment can lead to immediate relief. In other cases, repeat visits may be required for full recovery. Either way, the pain is gone because of optimal nervous system integrity!  Better function = better health = no pain.

If you or someone you care about is thinking they have a "pinched nerve", you should know that there are alternatives to drugs and surgery and that chiropractic care is the bomb.  OK well that's my opinion, but I think it's it's a good one. 

Give us a call today to see what innate can do for you.  It knows how to heal, how to keep you healthy - it just needs no interference.  303-776-6767