Can Tuina massage therapy help with pinched nerves?

Doctor's Answers 1

Pinched nerves refer to the condition where the tissues surrounding a nerve presses on it, causing symptoms such as:

  • numbness,
  • weakness,
  • tingling sensation or
  • pain.

It can occur in different parts of the body, for example, on the lower spine, where a slipped disc can press onto the sciatic nerve, causing radiating pain at the back of the leg. Pinched nerves can also happen in the forearm, where the median nerve is being pressed by surrounding tissues (carpal tunnel syndrome).

In the TCM perspective, pinched nerves indicate a poor circulation of blood and qi, particularly at the affected area. The treatment objective would be to improve the circulation of blood and qi.

TCM physicians will first have to determine whether or not the patient is suitable for tuina treatment. Tuina is not suitable for people with conditions such as:

  • heart disease,
  • infectious skin disease,
  • pregnancy
  • etc.

Tuina applies pressure to acupoints, meridians, and different muscle group or nerves to remove any obstruction that causes poor circulation of blood and qi. The treatment process will relieve the pain and other discomforts that come with the pinched nerve, but it is unlikely to release the surrounding tissues from pressing onto the nerve.

TCM physicians may combine other treatment methods such as herbal medication and acupuncture to enhance their effectiveness.

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