For anyone who doesn’t know, a pinched nerve happens when a nerve is compressed or damaged. This can happen because of an injury, tense muscles or repetitive strain. Sadly, it’s pretty painful, takes a while to heal, and is very common - especially as you get older.
The reason why lots of folks might wonder if a massage will help with a pinched nerve is because they usually happen on the back, neck, or shoulder - the places most affected by a massage. And you’ve heard us say that massage can help with certain injuries (and it does), but is a pinched nerve one of them?
The answer is it depends. Lots of things can cause a pinched nerve, and some of them are healed by a massage but others aren’t. You can break down the causes of these nerves to either a muscle issue or a bone issue.
If your pinched nerve is caused by muscle strain, then (with your doctor’s blessing) a light Swedish massage can help accelerate the healing process. But if it’s caused by your spine being out of alignment, or a herniated disk, then you might have better luck with a chiropractor.
It’s important to work with your doctor, and ask them if a massage will help. If you come to a massage therapist with inaccurate information, or request something like a deep tissue massage without explaining that you have a pinched nerve, you can actually set yourself up for even worse damage.
Above all else, you have to work with a doctor. A massage therapist is there to work with your doctor to help your injuries heal, they are not a replacement for your medical care. If, for whatever reason, a doctor is not available for you, we advise searching for a clinic and trying to find any means of getting a professional to look at your injury instead.
For injuries in the back, neck, and spine, it’s critical to understand what exactly is going on. Talk to your doctor and ask if massage therapy is the way to go. When there is that connection, our clients have found massage therapy to be incredibly helpful in providing pain relief they need to move forward with their healing process, and accelerated healing as well.