Can a chiropractor fix nerve compression in the upper back?

Your upper back or upper thoracic spine can cause pain that doesn’t feel like back pain. While sciatic pain bothers your leg, it also generally hurts in your low back, where the pain actually originates. A pinched nerve in your upper back can actually feel like a burn or a sharp poke and can be confused with conditions such as shingles.

Managing nerve compression in your upper back often takes time. Working with a chiropractor who can guide you toward a release of the nerve can make the process easier. In the early stages, you may need to

  • ice
  • rest
  • stretch
  • undergo chiropractic treatment
  • review your recent activities or daily processes to determine the source of the damage

Pinching a nerve in your upper back can be done in a variety of ways. You may have suffered a single event, such as a fall or a car wreck. It may have built up over time, such as by sitting at the wrong angle staring at a computer screen for too long. You may also simply suffer from poor posture.

Rebuilding Spinal Health

Nerve pain is debilitating and frustrating, particularly if the injury is severe enough that your pain becomes chronic. Chronic pain is exhausting for many reasons. You may struggle to sleep deeply because you just can’t get comfortable. You may feel your brain is foggy from pain medication. Your regular activities, such as playing with your kids or taking an exercise class with friends, may just be too painful to bear.

One of the big challenges with spinal nerve pain in general is that we’re often encouraged to put heat on sore muscles. However, for nerve pain, this is exactly the wrong treatment. Nerve pain and the inflammation that often follows takes ice.

To treat nerve pain in the upper back, lay on your tummy with your chin off the edge of your bed. Place your ice pack flat over the pinching pain and spend 20 minutes with your arms straight down by your sides. If this is too uncomfortable, take a small towel and lay it flat inside a large Ziploc bag. Wet the towel inside the bag and put it in the freezer. Wrap this in paper towels to keep your back dry and lay the bag against your upper back as you attend to household chores. You may need to wrap it to your body with an ace wrap around your chest. If you can wear this for 20 minutes every couple of hours, you may notice a reduction in the pinching pain.

Never sleep on an ice pack. Use the timer on your phone to make sure you take it off after 20 minutes and put it back in the freezer. After icing, relieve muscle tension with gentle stretching.

Work on your posture throughout the day. Focus on rolling your shoulders back and keeping your sternum high. As you walk, pull in your tummy and squeeze your glutes to align your lower back while the inflammation in your upper back eases. Work to keep your elbows away from your body and expand your ribcage when you breathe to keep your posture from collapsing forward.

As the inflammation eases and your nerve pain is reduced, work to start or return to your old exercise program. If you used to work out with weights, go back to the gym and use nothing more than 5 pound weights, watching yourself in the mirror to make sure your form is good. Next day, skip the weights. Walk, stretch, and check in with your body to make sure the nerve pain hasn’t returned.

Talk with your chiropractor about recommended exercise programs you can safely engage in as your condition improves. Look for a gentle yoga class to slowly stretch out tight muscles. If possible, get in the pool to support your back while you stretch.

Getting a chiropractic assessment is a healthy and productive choice to help you take care of the pinched nerve currently causing you trouble and to avoid suffering this pain in the future. Chiropractic care is about taking care of alignment pain so you can build up strength to help you stay in alignment. Call us today at 205-637-1363 for an assessment of your current condition and a path out of pain.

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