Pinched Nerves

The Truth About Pinched Nerves


( by David Butler)


What happens if I have been told that I have Pudendal Neuralgia? Pinched nerves are everywhere!


Google “pinched nerves” and there will be about a million entries. The vast majority do not tell the full story and may make you worse if you think you have a pinched nerve. “Pinched nerve” is right up there with “heel spur” and “degenerated disc”; it may not be as bad as the “obliterated thecal sac” or ‘dessicated disc”, but it’s still pretty scary. When we hear these types of words, we can tend to catastophize about our problem, believing that this is the worst thing that could happen, and NOT believing that you have the ability to cope with it. The diagnosis itself usually needs more management than what is actually happening in the nerve.


The Truth About Pinched Nerves

  • When you look up at the stars you pinch nerves a bit. We do it all the time. They are designed to be pinched, squeezed, rubbed and wriggled. Most of the time, nerves love a good, old workout.
  • In autopsies, lots of dead people have been shown to have scuffed, squeezed, frayed, obviously pinched nerves, yet in life they may have never complained of pain (Neary and Ochoa 1975)
  • It’s really hard to pinch and damage a nerve unless you take to the nerve with some pliers or there are some really significant arthritic changes in the spine, or you are the unfortunate victim of a nasty torture.
  • And even if a nerve is injured (this takes quite a bit to do) it still may not hurt when physically handled or it may wait until you have the flu or are really stressed before it fires.
  • Most of the time a person thinks they have a “pinched nerve” it is usually a sensitive nerve, a non- or minimally damaged nerve that moves quite well.

How do you treat a pinched nerve?


Talk the Nerve Talk, forget the pills and move


First, remember the concepts that you have just learned about nerve pain. The conceptual shift you want is towards something like “OK it’s a bit sensitive but it will settle with a bit of brain and body de-stressing.”


Pinch is a mean word. Do anything to me but don’t pinch me. A few years ago, Michel Coppieters (Coppieters and Hodges 2008) showed that people move better when they think they are being tested for a muscle problem rather than a nerve problem – just the name – nerve compared to muscle makes peolpe more sensitive. When you add “pinch” to “nerve” it has to be worse. Go through the truths above and put it into your own words.


Pills are not usually needed. There is a pill factory in your brain which should do the trick. Knowledge creates a flooding of happy hormones down the spinal cord. You can change the chemistry around the nerve by making it more physically healthy.




No magic here. Nerves like to move. Release the tension around the container of the nerve first (joint, muscle or connective tissue) and then get the nerve sliding and gliding within its container. Here is a good movement suggestion for pudendal Nerve Tension. Remember, work on your container- the muscles and connective tissue around the nerve- before doing a lot of nerve mobilization, especially if you find at first that the pudendal nerve mobilization aggravates your symptoms.