Acupuncture For Pinched Nerve: Does It Work?


If you live with pinched nerve pain, you know just how life-altering it is. The sharp, shooting pains, the tingling, and the numbness. The muscle weakness, radiating pain, and tenderness. You never know when your pinched nerve symptoms will strike, and they can severely impede your ability to perform daily tasks. If you’re looking for a new way to manage your symptoms, you may have heard about acupuncture for pinched nerve pain. But the question is, does it really work?

Acupuncture can help you overcome your pinched nerve pain by stimulating nerve function and healing. Acupuncture also triggers the release of endorphins, helping your body cope with pinched nerve pain naturally.

Can acupuncture help eliminate your pinched nerve pain?

A pinched nerve doesn’t feel like a sprained ankle or a quad strain. It can lead to several different uncomfortable sensations all at once. Muscle weakness and numbness. Sharp pains and tingling. 

A pinched nerve creates complex pain symptoms. And because that pain is on another level than your run-of-the-mill muscle overuse injury, it can be particularly tricky to treat using conventional methods. 

But acupuncture can help. When sterile needles are inserted into targeted points across the body, this leads to an increase in circulation.  By providing damaged cells with the materials they need to produce new tissues, this surge in blood flow and oxygen flow can help your nerves recover.

How does acupuncture for pinched nerve pain work?

Acupuncture encourages healing. That’s why so many athletes and active individuals rely on it to improve strength and range of motion. Orthopedic acupuncture can be tremendously therapeutic, allowing patients to regain and retain healthy musculoskeletal function. 

But on top of the improved circulation, acupuncture also releases endorphins. Do you know that “I’m on top of the world” feeling you get when you finish an early morning run, laugh really hard with your best friends, or enjoy your favorite meal? You can thank endorphins for that. 

These feel-good neurotransmitters promote a sense of well-being. But they also help mediate the way your brain receives pain signals. By latching onto the opioid receptors in your brain, endorphins raise your pain threshold, which makes coping with your pinched nerve pain much easier. Regular acupuncture sessions can even help you reduce your reliance on prescription pain medications. 

When should you get acupuncture for a pinched nerve?

If you’re struggling to cope with your pinched nerve pain, an acupuncture session can provide you with relief fast. 

Whether you’re dealing with an acute pinched nerve, or a chronic condition like piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or spondylolisthesis, the sooner you begin acupuncture sessions, the sooner you’ll feel better. 

It’s also worth noting that acupuncture can help you eliminate the pain you’ve developed as a result of your pinched nerve.

When you suffer from a pinched nerve, this can alter the way you use your muscle groups. For instance, if you have sciatica pain in your lower back, you may rely on your shoulder and leg muscles to compensate for it. This leads to musculoskeletal imbalances and increased muscle tension

So not only will acupuncture help you alleviate your pinched nerve pain, but it will also help address any radiating pain you may be dealing with, too. 

What to expect during your acupuncture session

If you’re new to acupuncture, don’t worry. There’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, many patients report an immediate sense of relief as the needles release long-held muscle tension. After your first session, you’ll find that acupuncture can be as relaxing as a massage

During your initial session, your acupuncturist will talk to you about your medical history to get to the root of your pinched nerve issues. They may ask you to perform a strength assessment or do a few stretches to determine your range of motion and to figure out the best strategy for your acupuncture treatment. 

At this point, dry, sterile needles will be inserted into various points across your body. These points work synergistically to support the flow of blood and oxygen to damaged tissues. The needles may remain in place for as little as 10 minutes, or up to 45, depending on your needs. 

After your session, your acupuncturist will remove the needles, and you can get back to enjoying your day. You may be advised to engage in specific exercises, like pilates or yoga, to enhance the effects of your session. Alternatively, your acupuncturist may advise you to avoid exercise completely to give your muscles a chance to recover. 

How many acupuncture sessions will you need to treat your pinched nerve?

In acute cases, a pinched nerve can be treated with regular sessions over a period of several weeks to several months. Of course, this is just a general rule of thumb. Because every case is different, you’ll need to consult with your acupuncturist to determine exactly how many treatments you’ll need to overcome your symptoms. 

That said, chronic pinched nerve pain typically requires ongoing treatment. Acupuncture is a highly beneficial supportive measure. Along with other things like dietary adjustments, supplements, and physical therapy, regular acupuncture sessions can be an indispensable part of your pinched nerve pain management plan. 

Your acupuncturist may suggest other treatments to help you cope with your pain, too. Dry needling and cupping are extremely helpful, not just for treating a pinched nerve, but also for alleviating the musculoskeletal imbalances associated with a pinched nerve.

Setting up your first appointment

If you’re ready to give acupuncture a try, we’ll be here for you as you embark on your new health journey. Book an appointment with one of our offices today, and our friendly staff will be happy to help you get started. 

From your very first visit with Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we will take the time to listen to all of your concerns. We are committed to helping you overcome the pain and discomfort standing in the way of you and the active lifestyle you’ve always wanted. 
Contact us today to learn more about acupuncture for pinched nerve pain, and the many other wonderful therapies we have to offer.

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