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Once more, the cold cold months of winter are here. Most of us decide to hibernate during this time, since our absolute favorite outdoor activities tend to be more challenging to participate in. Some of us can be driven to stay energetic by means of jogging, biking, snowboarding, winter hiking, etc., and putting on more layers to do the activities we enjoy. I have recognized, during my ten years in practice, that there is a rise in the number of people entering the office this time of year, complaining of serious pain connected with pinched nerves.
The spine is made of individual spinal vertebrae and houses the spinal cord. The spinal cord stretches to every organ and system of the body by using a network of nerves leaving the vertebrae or bones of the spine. These vertebrae can easily turn and alter their placement resulting in pinching of the nerves of the body. This may result in soreness, feeling numb, tingling, a decrease of strength, along with a decrease of function. Other methods that nerves might pinch is simply by pressure from a spinal disc, also known as a herniated disc, as well as pressure coming from soft tissues which include muscle, ligament, or tendon. The most typical parts of the spine to get a pinched nerve is in the lower cervical spine, in the neck, especially at the fifth, sixth, or seventh cervical vertebrae.
A lot of men and women with cervical pinched nerves can have pain in the neck, shoulder, shoulder blade, any area of the arm, the wrist, and normally may have numbness or tingling in the fingers. A person may have any just one of these types of symptoms. I have several patients with a pinching of the nerves in their neck that only have discomfort inside their shoulder, pain in the wrist, occasionally confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, or even just numbness and tingling in their fingers, and they are unsure where the cause of the problem is originating from. They may have no neck pain or neck immobility but the reason for the difficulty is actually coming from the spine, as this is the location where the nerve begins. Easy orthopedic tests, and dermatome, each vertebrae is associated with a certain skin area where pain or numbness and tingling exists, tests can establish which vertebrae should be remedied to eliminate the pressure off the nerve.
Another popular area for a pinched nerve in the spine is in the lumbar spine, in the lower back, mainly the third, fourth, and fifth lumbar vertebrae. The most typical pinched nerve in this region of the spine is sometimes referred to as sciatica if it necessitates the sciatic nerve. The fourth lumbar is the origin of the sciatic nerve. With regards to this impingement, a patient might have pain just in the back of the leg, it can be shooting, sharp, as well as burning. They can have pain simply in the buttocks, or pain just in the foot or ankle. Just like in the neck they might not have any discomfort in the low back. Many of these people are convinced there is a leg or foot issue, when the reason for the problem is actually coming from much higher up in the spine.
The frigid winter months cause our muscles, tendons, and ligaments to be tighter than in the hotter temperatures. Envision our muscles, tendons, and ligaments similar to rubber. Rubber stretches more when in warmer temperatures, but loses elasticity in the colder weather. This is the same way the soft tissues of our body work. So, in the wintry temperature months our muscles, tendons, and ligaments will not be stretching out as a lot and are basically pulling somewhat harder on the vertebrae of the spine. This might lead to a vertebrae going out of alignment and triggering a pinching of a nerve.
Preventing Pinched Nerves
The most beneficial injury and pinched nerve prevention, when you are engaging in a task in winter months, would be to do a very delicate warm up. For about 10 minutes before you participate in the activity mimic the movements that you do in your activity. For example mild running, twisting, throwing, lifting, and this really should be at about 10 to 15 percent of your maximum output. This will increase blood flow to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, allowing them to be more flexible and shock absorber ready.
Proper stretching after the warm-up, and then again after the exercise is key for attaining optimum injury prevention and hopefully protecting against pinched nerves. The issue is that stretching out is frequently carried out improperly. The majority of people extend too much and too rapidly. Stretches must be mild, and produce a relaxing sensation of gentle stretch or tension. There should be no pain, discomfort, or bouncing movements. The stretch should be kept for around thirty seconds, but no less than twenty. Stretching too strongly, or for less than twenty seconds might trigger a stretch response which could actually cause the muscle to tighten-up even more.