Can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve? Understanding the treatment methods available for you is crucial for anyone suffering from a pinched nerve. The biggest factors to consider are your speed of recovery, the potential outcomes of treatment, and your overall quality of life during the process. 

Each treatment option has benefits and potential risks, which need to be considered carefully. For instance, surgeries often provide quick relief, but they come with inherent risks and longer recovery times. On the other hand, non-invasive treatments like chiropractic care may take longer but pose fewer risks and potential complications. That’s why understanding all your available treatment options can help you make well-informed decisions about your health.

What Is a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is what happens when there is too much pressure applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues. This pressure might be due to bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons pressing against the nerve. In a nutshell, this extra pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, which causes a whole range of issues, like nerve pain, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. 

A pinched nerve most often occurs in your wrist (causing carpal tunnel syndrome), your elbow (ulnar nerve entrapment), or your spine (sciatica from a herniated disc).

Causes and Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve can be a result of several factors and can present a variety of symptoms. Here are some key causes and symptoms to look out for:


  • Prolonged pressure: Constant pressure on a nerve from repeated activities can lead to a pinched nerve.
  • Herniated disc: This occurs when a disc in your spine ruptures, leaking fluid that irritates nearby nerves.
  • Bone spurs: Overgrowths of bone can put pressure on the surrounding nerve tissue.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Inflammation caused by this condition can compress nerves, particularly in your joints.


  • Pain: If you are suffering from a pinched nerve, you may notice a sharp pain, aching or a burning sensation in the area affected.
  • Numbness: You may experience decreased sensation.
  • Weakness: There may be weakness in the muscles served by the affected nerves.
  • Tingling: You may experience a feeling of “pins and needles” in the affected area.

How Chiropractors Diagnose a Pinched Nerve

Chiropractors employ a blend of physical examination and advanced diagnostic techniques to identify a pinched nerve. First, they conduct a detailed patient history to understand the nature of the symptoms and potential root causes. Then, they perform a physical examination. This includes assessing the patient’s posture, gauging joint and muscle movement, and palpating the area of discomfort. 

Chiropractors may also utilize diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays, to visualize the affected areas, confirm the diagnosis, and guide the development of an individualized treatment plan.

The importance of an accurate diagnosis in the case of pinched nerves cannot be overstated. It forms the cornerstone of an effective treatment plan. 

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can exacerbate the condition, potentially leading to chronic pain, increased nerve damage, and a longer recovery period. Moreover, an accurate diagnosis can help rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis, avoiding unnecessary or ineffective treatments. Therefore, seeking prompt, professional evaluation from a healthcare provider, such as a chiropractor, is crucial when experiencing symptoms indicative of a pinched nerve.

Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve?

Chiropractic care employs a range of non-invasive techniques targeted at relieving the pressure on the nerve and restoring normal nerve function. One of the most common techniques used to treat a pinched nerve is spinal adjustment. This technique involves the chiropractor using their hands or a small instrument to apply controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint, aiming to improve spinal motion and improve the body’s physical function. 

Another technique used to relieve your pain is called flexion-distraction. This involves a gentle, non-thrusting type of spinal manipulation aimed at treating herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Chiropractors may also utilize therapeutic massages to relieve tension in the muscles that may be causing compression on the nerves. 

Moreover, they can provide guidance on exercises and stretches that patients can perform at home to improve strength and flexibility, further aiding in relieving nerve pressure. These chiropractic techniques are designed to be safe and effective, providing pain relief without the need for surgical intervention or medications.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

The timeline and results of chiropractic treatment for a pinched nerve can vary widely, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s overall health. As a general rule of thumb, patients might start to experience relief from symptoms after a few sessions, but it’s important to understand that each person’s healing process is unique. 

Chiropractic care is a cumulative treatment, meaning that the benefits often increase over the course of several weeks or months of regular appointments. Consistent treatment combined with appropriate lifestyle modifications — like incorporating recommended exercises or making ergonomic adjustments — can lead to significant improvements. 

In many instances, patients achieve substantial pain reduction or complete resolution of their symptoms. Long-term, regular chiropractic care can also correct poor posture and lead to an overall better quality of life. We always recommend that patients discuss expected timelines and potential results directly with your chiropractor. Because each case is unique, only your chiropractor can tell you what to expect based on your specific circumstances.

Talk to a Fayetteville Chiropractor Today

It is essential to share your complete medical history with your chiropractor before starting any chiropractic treatment. If we are aware of any pre-existing conditions or risk factors, we will tailor your treatment plan to ensure it is safe and effective. In some cases, we may work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals or refer you to a specialist to ensure you receive the most appropriate care. Contact Generations Health & Wellness Center for help with a pinched nerve.