Nerve irritation involves the compression or irritation of a nerve by surrounding muscles, soft tissues, blood, swelling, tumor or others. It is commonly a result of swelling or inflammation of a body part causing the adjacent nerve root to become affected, something that your local Land O Lakes chiropractor can help to address.

Nerve root irritation may affect various nerves in the body, but the common areas include the nerves that exit through the spine as a result of low back problems and similar conditions. Nerve irritation as a result of pinching of two nerves between two vertebrae is called spinal subluxation. In certain instances, nerve irritation may also occur with bulging discs wherein the nerves get trapped with the herniated disc. In addition, spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the lumen of the spinal column, may also cause nerve irritation.

The nerves are responsible for conducting electrical impulses to and from the central nervous system and any irritation of these structures may lead to various symptoms of nerve impingement. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain

Pain is a common symptom of nerve irritation. As the nerves become inflamed from impingement and entrapment, inflammatory mediators are released and cause pain as a symptom. The nerves also are responsible for the signaling of the central nervous system during peripheral injury so inflammation on the nerve itself may cause significant pain sensation. Pain usually develops on areas of the body below the level of nerve impingement.

  • Paresthesia

Paresthesia is an unusual tactile sensation and is a collective term for numbness and tingling sensation. It is one of the most common causes of nerve irritation and is usually felt on the peripheral areas of the body. The nerves are responsible for the normal transmission of nerve impulses and any interruption of which can affect the normal sensations in the body because of the affectation of the sensory efferent neurons or the nerves that dictates peripheral senses. Nerve irritation in the peripheral areas may cause localized numbness and tingling sensations while nerve irritation along the spine may cause paresthesia on the levels lower the area of affectation. For instance, nerve irritation along the lumbar area may cause pins and needles on the buttocks and thighs.

  • Altered sensation to temperature

Aside from pain and paresthesia, nerve irritation may also cause alterations in the ability to sense cold and hot temperatures.

  • Weakness or loss of function

Another symptom of nerve irritation is weakness on the affected body part. The nerves are also responsible for the motor function of the musculoskeletal system so any interruption in their functioning may also lead to loss of musculoskeletal function due to poor nerve innervations. Weakness only involves reduced muscle strength, but does not involve complete paralysis unless the nerve irritation is severe enough to result in nerve damage.

  • Paralysis

Paralysis is the end result of severe nerve irritation that causes permanent nerve damage. This symptom is usually seen in nerve irritation along the spinal cord. Cauda equina syndrome, the nerve compression along the sacral area, can cause permanent paralysis on the bowel and bladder as well as in the lower limbs.

Nerve irritation is primarily a mild neurologic affectation; nevertheless, appropriate treatment should be instituted to prevent permanent nerve damage. If you experience the above symptoms, consult a chiropractor for appropriate managements.