Written by Dr. Matthew Alvord DC, DPhCS
The nerves in your body are designed to communicate information from your brain to your body, and then back again without interference. In chiropractic, this circuitry loop connected by your nerves through your spine is called the safety pin cycle. This cycle works optimally when the nerve channels are clear to express the messages they carry. Spinal bones often misalign and put pressure on nerves, which irritates or pinches them. These are called spinal subluxations. They distort the signals transmitted through the entire body, causing the body to lose its ability to adapt well. A pinch isn’t just a pinch.
By the time we think we have a pinched nerve, we have probably been in a pinch for much longer than we thought. This is because it takes very little pressure to affect a nerve, and usually starts before we might feel anything abnormal as a result of it. Studies show that just the weight of a dime can decrease nerve function from 40-60%! That’s pretty amazing, considering the kinds of forces the body must deal with on a regular basis. The spinal bones, called vertebrae, normally protect the delicate spinal cord, which is made up of about a half billion nerve fibers and has the consistency of soft cheese. When these same bones malign, they can cause interference to the very structures they usually protect. This quickly makes a hard bone on a soft nerve, truly a rock in a hard place.
Since less than 10% of all our nerves are designed to transmit any pain at all, discomfort and pain are not good indicators of when a true problem has started anyway. When we do feel a pinch somewhere, we don’t even know if the problem is where the pinch is actually felt. Many times the problem causing the pinch is in a completely different place than where we feel it. That’s a heck of a pinch to be in!
There is only one way to know for sure whether your pinch is coming from a spinal subluxation. Get checked by a chiropractor who is uniquely trained at analyzing your nervous system to specifically find and adjust your nerve interference, pinch or not, so your body can get back to doing what it needs to do.