Pinched Nerve2017-08-02T04:12:49+00:00

Pinched Nerve in the Neck. . .the classic cause discovered

Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

pinched nerveIt’s called a pinched nerve because that’s what it feels like. But there’s a lot more going on!

Like an open window, nerve openings along your spine must be clear and unobstructed.

The 24 moving bones of your spine protect your spinal cord while permitting normal turning and bending. Pairs of nerve roots, one on each side, branch off your spinal cord at each segmental level to service the organs and tissues of your body. When these openings are obstructed, even slightly, your brain can’t properly control and regulate your body.

When a spinal bone is malpositioned, it can encroach upon these important nerve openings. Nerve irritation can result. We call that a subluxation.

Two Types
When spinal bones lose their normal motion or position, it can cause one of two types of nerve disturbances:

  1. Compressed lesion – This is just a fancy name for a pinched nerve. What surprises many is that it’s actually quite rare. More common is a…
  2. Facilitative lesion – This is when the nerve root is stretched, twisted or chafed. Think: hard tissue rubbing on soft tissue.
    But remember, bones are static structures. They don’t move unless muscles move them. And muscles don’t move bones unless commanded by the nervous system. An irritated nerve creates a vicious loop. Our job is to locate these areas of your spine and reduce their impact on your nervous system.

pinched nervePrecise Nudge
A thorough examination helps us identify areas of your spine where spinal bones are stuck and not moving correctly. Then, we give them a precise little nudge called a chiropractic adjustment. Your body uses this energy to “right itself” as nerve irritation is reduced.

Because chiropractic addresses the integrity of your nervous system, it’s a natural solution to many health problems. Give us a call.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If the cause of your condition is related to the misalignment of one or more vertebra which is directly affecting the flow of nerve impulses to your body, you need to know that only specific chiropractic adjustments to gently move your spine into balance is going to fix the cause. Medications may change the symptoms you are experiencing, but drugs have serious side effects and do not address the cause of the symptom. Physical therapy in the case where spinal misalignments are the cause is a waste of money and time.

The diagnosis is simple. You either have misaligned vertebra or other boney components that are out of alignment or you don’t. A good analogy  is when your car’s wheels are out of alignment. The only fix is to realign your wheels.

Finding your problem:  Subluxations or misalignments for the benefits of laymens terms, are easy and painless to detect by a highly trained and experienced chiropractor. Call us today at 949 388-0800 and let us get you back to health.

Conditions & Symptoms

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I have never had a reoccurrence of the sciatic problems that plagued me so consistently in the late 1980’s

“After my experience with a severe running injury, I felt compelled to write to the readers of your magazine, Runners World in the hope of helping someone else who might have similar problems.

I have been running for more than 19 years; for the last 14 years I have been running between 7 and 10 hours per week. During the first 17 years, I was virtually injury free. But, in October of 1987, I started experiencing low level hamstring pain, first in one leg, then in the other, and finally in both. Initially, I did what every veteran runner would do – I ignored it. But when the pain did not go away, and in fact became worse, I knew I had to take positive action.

My doctor referred me to a sports medicine orthopedic doctor in December of 1987. He gave me a thorough exam, including X-rays, and concluded that I had no structural damage. He suggested physical therapy (PT). I had PT for several weeks and experienced no relief; instead the pain continued to grow.

I went back to my doctor in March of 1988 and he prescribed Feldene, an anti-inflammatory drug. It worked wonderfully for a couple of weeks, but soon lost its effectiveness. So that summer, I tried more PT for eight weeks, but again had no relief at all. By this time, even though I was back on Feldene, I was extremely sore for several days after each of my two weekly hard runs. In fact, the pain never went away at all, and I was unable to train consistently.

In October of 1988, I decided to spend the money to see a world-famous orthopedic doctor, the team physician for a local professional sport’s team. He took X-rays, but could also find no structural damage. I asked him if it was possible that I had a nerve problem since I knew that hamstring injuries should heal in a few weeks, not linger on for more than a year. He said no, recommended that I stop running for at least a month, and suggested that I see a psychiatrist who would help me understand why I enjoyed pain.

Now for the first time, I was really worried. If one of the leading sports medicine orthopedic doctors in the world could not help me, what was there left for me to try?

I went back to my primary care physician in November of 1988, and he referred me to a third physical therapist. By this time, in addition to ever-increasing pain while I ran, I was having more and more soreness while walking, and even when driving my car. Specifically, whenever I drove for more than 10 minutes at a time, my right hamstring would just throb!

I had PT this time for five weeks and, for the first time, made some progress. My therapist suggested that, while driving, I tilt my seat back so that the angle between my back and my legs was perhaps 120 degrees, rather than 90 degrees. This made an amazing difference; my driving pain vanished! Unfortunately, both my legs were still very sore after I exited the car, but at least I began to have hope again that there could be a solution to my pain. The therapist said that she thought I had a sciatic problem, rather than a hamstring injury; she said I was feeling pain in my hamstrings only because my sciatic nerve, which is connected to both hamstrings, was irritated. Her solution was to work on my lower back to relieve this irritation. She tried this for several weeks, but it did not help at all.

Though I could now drive without pain, my running pain was becoming almost unbearable. But I did discover that I could run with relatively minor discomfort if I ran backwards on my treadmill. I realized that my pain came from extending my legs and pulling backwards, which one does not do when running backwards. Though backwards running on a treadmill may sound awkward and boring, it can give a decent workout, especially at a high inclination. Nevertheless, I knew it was a temporary solution, since the pain I had while walking was becoming worse.

My wife, who had had some low back problems over the yeas, and had had some relief from chiropractic treatment, suggested that I try it. I asked my physical therapist if a chiropractor could possibly help me, and she said absolutely not. But being an open minded person, and having no other real options, I decided to give chiropractic a try.

In December of 1988, I went to see Dr. Chris Hawn, a chiropractor in Laguna Niguel, CA. His X-rays indicated that my pelvis was slightly tilted, and this might be causing an impingement of the sciatic nerves which ran down both my legs. He said he did not know how much of my pain he could relieve, but that I would see some improvement within a week. I saw him three times that week, and sure enough I felt better than I had in at least two months. However, I thought this improvement was probably due to the backwards running I had just started, rather than the chiropractic treatment. So I stopped the chiropractic treatment and continued running backwards. I quickly realized that my thinking was also backwards. During this three week experiment, I had no more pain relief at all; in fact, my pain began to increase again.

I then resumed the chiropractic treatment, and within one week I felt the same relief I had felt before. On a scale of 1 to 100, I had just moved up from a 1 to a 10. Every two to three weeks after that, I moved up another level. Now after three months of chiropractic adjustments, I am running VIRTUALLY PAIN FREE!! In addition, I no longer have pain after driving my car for long periods of time.

After two years of near constant pain, I can hardly believe it. I had actually begun to give up hope that I would ever be able to run again. Emotionally, I think of my healing as a miracle. But intellectually, I realize now that it was nothing more than an obvious solution to a typical problem … for an exceptionally skilled chiropractor!

I am writing this letter in the hope that my experience can help others to try chiropractic as a first resort, not a last one. Medical doctors can be helpful for some ailments, but for most of the health problems that people, and runners in particular, encounter, a first-class chiropractor is the place to start. And if you are lucky enough to live in Orange County, you can’t do better than Chris Hawn, the miracle man who gave me back my health, after multiple orthopedic doctors and physical therapists had no clue to the solution!


It is now February of 2015, and I have never had a reoccurrence of the sciatic problems that plagued me so consistently in the late 1980’s. I still see Chris from time to time, almost as much for the enjoyable conversations we have as for chiropractic treatment – he solved my problem so completely more than a quarter-century ago that I am still running pain free to this day!

I have written a few letters of recommendation over the years, but never one about which I feel so passionately as this one. Chris Hawn is a wonderful, caring person, who also happens to be an incredible chiropractor!”

Michael Van Guilder, Ph.D.
Laguna Niguel

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A big thanks for all the terrific chiropractic care this year

“A big thanks for all the terrific chiropractic care this year.  God has truly given you a very special gift and talent.  And we especially appreciate everything you’ve done for us while Cheryl has been ill.  We both wish you, your family, and your office staff a very Merry Christmas, and all God’s best for the New Year!”

Mark and Cheryl
Laguna Niguel

Physical therapy and muscle relaxers didn’t work for me

“Physical therapy and muscle relaxers didn’t work for me.  After my accident, the only real relief I got was from Dr. Chris.  He told me it would take time and it did.  But today I can say that for someone who had ongoing pain for over a year, his personalized treatments really changed my life.”

Rick McLimore
San Juan Capistrano

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