Nerve Entrapment

New England Stem Cell Institute

Stem Cell Clinic & Regenerative Medicine located in Glastonbury, CT

When you suffer from chronic pain you can feel frustrated and disappointed when doctors can’t identify the pain’s source. Nerve entrapment is a common cause of pain that’s often overlooked. Paul Tortland, DO, and Jeffrey LaVallee, MD, at New England Stem Cell Institute specialize in the diagnosis of nerve entrapment and offers a treatment that can provide the long-term relief you’ve been looking for. For a consultation, call the office in Glastonbury, Connecticut, or request an appointment online.

Nerve Entrapment Q & A

What causes nerve pain? 

Nerve pain can be caused by many factors, but the most common is a direct injury to a nerve, such as a bruise or overstretching, or nerve entrapment. 

What is nerve entrapment? 

Also called a pinched or compressed nerve, nerve entrapment occurs when a nerve gets squeezed by surrounding tissue, such as muscles.  Almost all of the nerves in the body pass around, between, or through muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some nerves, such as those exiting the spine, also pass through bony canals, and they can get squeezed if the canal becomes too narrow. 

When a nerve gets squeezed, its blood supply gets reduced, and this causes nerve irritation.  This irritation can cause pain and nerve symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and a sense of weakness.  (When you cross your legs and your foot falls asleep, that’s due to the nerve and blood vessels getting compressed.  Shaking your leg or walking it off restores blood flow and the symptoms resolve.)

Some cases of nerve entrapment, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, are easy to diagnose. Other cases aren’t as cut-and-dried, and the diagnosis can be elusive. 

The team at the New England Stem Cell Institute has found that when the source of persistent pain isn’t obvious after a physical exam, X-rays, and/or MRI studies, then the culprit is often an irritated nerve. Such nerves aren’t easily identified on x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.  But they can sometimes be seen with a good diagnostic ultrasound exam.   

Many physicians aren’t aware of the possibility that your pain could be due to nerve entrapment and you might be told “there’s nothing wrong with you” or “it’s all in your head.”

Not being able to find the source of the pain, however, doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there. 

What are the symptoms of nerve entrapment?

Symptoms of nerve entrapment depend on the affected nerve. In addition to pain, you can also experience: 

  •   Radiating numbness or tingling to other areas
  •   Muscle weakness
  •   Burning sensations
  •   Pins and needles

Your symptoms can worsen with or without movement. 

How is nerve entrapment treated? 

Simple nerve entrapment is often easily treated with soft tissue release techniques used in physical therapy or with special soft tissue treatments such as A.R.T. (Active Release Technique) or Graston technique.

For more severe or recalcitrant cases, the team at the New England Stem Cell Institute uses a technique called “nerve hydrodissection” to release trapped nerves.

During the procedure, the doctor injects a mixture of saline and anesthetic into the tissue surrounding your compressed nerve using ultrasound guidance.  The ultrasound allows precise visualization of both the nerve and the needle. The fluid decompresses the nerve, helps restore blood flow, and eases your pain. In the vast majority of cases, the treatment is either completely painless or only minimally uncomfortable.  

You might need more than one treatment to get the best results depending on the severity of your condition and how long you’ve had it. But the treatment is designed to cure the problem, which means your pain should go away completely.

The physicians at the New England Stem Cell Institute are leading experts in the United States in ultrasound-guided nerve hydrodissection. In fact, they were personally trained by the doctor who invented the technique!

For a consultation to learn more about this innovative treatment of nerve entrapment, call the office or make an online request for an appointment.