Numbness - Nerve vs Muscular Causes of Numbness & Tingling

Understanding the Causes of Post-Accident Numbness & Tingling

Numbness and tingling is a common problem after auto accident. Many people worry about nerve compression when numbness and tingling occur, but much of the time there are other less severe causes. Most cases of numbness result from tightness and injury to muscles. When muscles become very tight, they can produce sensations of numbness, tingling, as well as burning. This can become severe enough to affect the sensation of light touch. However, numbness and tingling from muscle tightness does not usually affect the sensation of sharp, whereas it is much more common for nerve problems to do so.

Close-up view of herniated lumbar vertebral disc m

Decoding Nerve Injuries and Compression Patterns

Nerve injuries commonly produce sensations of numbness, tingling, pain, and electrical sensation. More severe nerve injuries can result in muscle weakness and loss of sensation with testing.

Nerve compression can occur where the nerve exits the spine in an area called the intervertebral foramen (IVF). Numbness from this type of nerve compression typically presents in a particular pattern over the body called dermatomes. Numbness from nerve compression does not usually cover many dermatomes at the same time, whereas numbness and tingling from muscle tightness is often in vague varying locations and may overlap several of these dermatomes. Additionally, numbness and pain from muscle tightness can refer symptoms to other areas away from the tight and irritated muscle.

Spinal Nerve Compression and Muscle Weakness

The central nerve cord can become compressed within the spine as well after auto collisions. Compression of the central cord of the spine can produce muscle weakness with spasms. This condition can result from disc herniations that press back into the central canal of the spine. The discs of the spine are the fibrocartilage structures sandwiched between each of the bones of the spine that allow for support and movement of your neck and back. However, when forces are too much, the disc of the spine may fray or tear, producing bulges or disc herniations.

Large central disc herniations are less common than posterolateral disc herniations that can produce IVF compression as a large ligament called the posterior longitudinal ligament is directly behind the vertebral bodies providing support to the posterior area of the spinal discs. When the disc herniates posteriorly into the central canal of the spine, this narrows the space for the spinal cord and can cause a compression of the cord.

In many cases of cord compression preexisting bone spurs have narrowed the space for the spinal cord but may not have pressed on the cord by themselves. A nerve can become compressed and irritated by tight muscles outside of the spine as well. In this case, excessive muscle tightness compresses a nerve and can cause nerve symptoms as well as symptoms of muscle tightness.

Mid adult male chiropractor treating a female pati

Chiropractic Care for Relief

If you're experiencing tingling from tight muscles or nerve compression after an auto accident, chiropractic care can offer effective relief. Chiropractors specialize in addressing musculoskeletal issues, including tight muscles and nerve compression. Through targeted adjustments, chiropractic treatment aims to restore proper alignment, alleviate muscle tension, and reduce nerve interference.

Chiropractors employ hands-on techniques to release tension in the muscles and promote spinal alignment. Adjustments can enhance blood flow, reduce inflammation, and facilitate the body's natural healing processes. By addressing the root causes of tingling, chiropractic care provides a holistic approach to alleviate both muscle-related and nerve-related symptoms.

Additionally, chiropractors may incorporate therapeutic massage and rehabilitative exercises into the treatment plan. These complementary approaches further contribute to the reduction of muscle tightness and the restoration of optimal nerve function.

If you've been involved in an auto accident and are experiencing tingling, numbness, or pain, consider consulting with our skilled chiropractors at Accident & Wellness Chiropractic. Our expertise in spinal health and musculoskeletal function can play a crucial role in your recovery, promoting overall well-being and helping you regain a sense of comfort and mobility.