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Being "pinched" hurts, but to pinch a nerve? Ugh! That must feel like a severe, sharp, intense pain-and it often does. "Pinched" nerves could happen nearly anywhere and affect nerves that go to your arms, fingers, wrists, neck, head, back, shoulders, legs, muscles and internal organs. "Pinched" nerves can affect your health, posture, vitality, resistance to disease, even your emotional health. "Pinched" nerves can make your life miserable.

Do nerves really get "pinched"? Actual pinching is quite rare. What is much more common is what chiropractors call the vertebral subluxation complex or subluxations. Other terms for this are nerve impingement, nerve irritation, nerved lesion, spinal stress and meningeal tension. Even though there may be no actual pinching, people like the word because it's so descriptive. It can really feel like something is being pinched in there. Some health professionals even use it. People at times enter a chiropractor's office saying their MD, osteopath, massage therapist or other healer referred them because they had a "pinched" nerve and should see a chiropractor to get it "unpinched.

Individual nerve fibers are microscopic. Although they may be many inches long they are so thin you need a powerful microscope to see them. Nerve fibers are also found in large bundles called nerves, which you can see. Billions of nerve fibers are bundled inside your spinal cord, an extension of your brain, which passes through your spinal column. Nerves branch off from your spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae to connect to every nook and cranny in your body.

Your nerves connect you to the world. Without them you couldn't see, hear, touch, taste, or smell or fell hot, cold, pleasure or pain. Your body would be the ultimate sensory deprivation tank; no messages could come in-and no messages could go out; without nerves no muscles could move; you'd be a prisoner within yourself.

Nerve messages also help regulate your body activities such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion, excretion, and your blood pressure and immune system so that you can respond to germs, changes in temperature and all kinds of stress. In addition to nerve impulses, nutrients flow over your nerves to nourish your muscles and tissues. If this flow is blocked it may cause your muscles to waste away. If your nerves are "pinched," "impinged" or otherwise interfered with, the flow of messages and nutrients over them can be disrupted and your body can become "dis-eased" or weakened. When you are dis-eased you have less energy and vitality and are less able to deal with physical and emotional stress. Lowered resistance to disease, infection, colds, flu, allergies, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, asthma, fevers, headaches, seizures, bed-wetting, hearing, balance or visual disturbances and many other health problems have been related to an unhealthy nervous system.

Your skeletal system, especially your spinal column, protects your spinal cord and other nerves. If your spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned even slightly they many "pinch," impinge, irritate, compressor stretch the nerves they are supposed to protect. This in turn can affect other structures in the area including blood vessels, discs, ligaments, joints, muscles, fascia, tendons and meninges. As mentioned earlier, this is referred to as a subluxation.

Nearly any kind of stress can cause a subluxation: a fall or an accident, even a very mild one that happened years ago; a bad sleeping position; poor posture; fatigue; dental work; a difficult birth; emotional stress; poor nutrition or a combination of stresses. A subluxation need not happen all at once. It could "set' in our body over time-coming on so gradually that you won't be aware you have one.

Most people with "pinched" nerves are not in pain since most nerves do not carry pain messages. Chiropractors sometimes say that people with painful "pinched" nerves might be considered lucky-they know they have a problem and they (hopefully) will go to a chiropractor. But what of those not "lucky"enough to have painful "pinched" nerves? They may watch their body suffer and their health deteriorate for years without the faintest idea that the problem may be coming from their spine. These people desperately need to see a chiropractor but because they don't have spine or nerve pain they may never receive the care they need. This is the big job facing chiropractors today-educating people about vertebral subluxations and the need for periodic spinal checkups.

"Pinched" nerves do not go away by themselves. No amount of painkillers or muscle relaxants can fix them. Only doctors of chiropractic are able to analyze your spinal column for "pinched" nerves or vertebral subluxations and use spinal adjustment techniques to gently realign your spine, release your internal stress and free you from your "pinched" nerves. Only a chiropractic spinal analysis and spinal adjustment can relieve your body of vertebral subluxations-nothing else will do.

Koren Publications Inc © 2008 Tedd Koren, D.C. All rights reserved   Koren Publications Inc.