Can Massage Therapy Help a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve can quickly put the brakes on rolling in the grass with the dog, traversing through aisles in a grocery store to stock an empty fridge, or even the simple action of sitting in a chair at work. Some incidents ease in a few minutes, but in more moderate cases, a pinched nerve requires an extra boost to restore your body to peak functionality.

Frequent, severe cases of pinched nerves can require surgery down the line. But for a modest pinched nerve, massage therapy can act as an effective aid, easing muscle tension and inflammation. Let’s take a look at the real problem behind pinched nerves and why massage therapy may be your tool for relief.

A Pinched Nerve: What’s Happening to My Body?

A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is compressed, usually stemming from inflammation to a particular area via repetitive motion or a single incident. In common cases, pressure on a nerve departing the spine can cause low back pain or neck pain and may cause pain to radiate into the shoulder and arm. Pain could subsequently travel down to the leg and foot—all from pressure on one single nerve.

A pinched nerve may bring about feelings of numbness, weak muscles, decreased reflexes, and a considerable amount of pain in the affected nerve. And when one pinches a nerve, it’s normally not the nerve itself that’s the cause of the issue. It’s the structures around the nerve that need to be targeted for healing.

How Massage Therapy Can Benefit a Pinched Nerve

Often times, a pinched nerve results from muscular tightness, myofascial adhesions, or neuromuscular trigger points—and massage therapy may be a gateway to quick relief for each of these causations. An inflammation-buster such as a massage can work to bring harmony to the root of the issue, which is often the structures surrounding the nerve.

Muscle tension is a common cause of a pinched nerve, and a light to medium pressure massage such as a Swedish massage soothes and relaxes the muscles, helping to loosen, elongate, and promote better flexibility. A deep tissue massage may also help target problem areas that may need an increase in intensity.

By ramping up circulation, a massage delivers much-needed oxygenation to the muscles, increasing blood flow and decreasing inflammation. Inflamed muscles and tendons swell up and put pressure on a nerve, but a massage helps to deflate aggravated areas.

A massage also stirs up powerful pain-fighting endorphins, which can provide a welcome relief to symptoms from a pinched nerve.

If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, it’s a good idea to consult your physician to evaluate the source of the problem. Whatever the case may be, it’s likely that massage therapy can help to lessen the aches and other symptoms associated with painful pinched nerves.