A "pinched nerve" means something is putting pressure on a nerve. Any number of things may be the culprit, including repetitive motions in sports or at work, poor posture, excess weight, a ruptured disc, bone spurs or arthritis in the neck.
If you have a pinched nerve in the neck, you’re likely to feel symptoms in the neck, elbow, hands, wrists, or fingers. Symptoms may include:
- Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling
So how can you relieve those symptoms? A number of strategies, some of which can be done at home, may help:
- Rest. If an activity hurts, stop doing it for a while to give your body time to heal. You may also want to try cushions or neck rests to relieve pressure on your pinched nerve. Make sure you get adequate sleep, which can help with healing.
- NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation that may be putting pressure on the nerve. NSAIDs include medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.
- Improved posture. Make sure your posture is good and that your work station is set up correctly so that you’re in a comfortable, healthy position while you work. Avoid slouching and get up and move around from time to time.
- Hot and cold treatment. This treatment may speed healing by increasing blood circulation to the affected area and reducing inflammation. Try using cold compresses for up to 15 minutes three times a day and a heating pad for up to an hour at a time three times a day.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist can help evaluate your posture and use techniques like massage and strength and stretching exercises to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Low-impact exercise. Swimming, biking, walking, and similar low-impact activities can help reduce inflammation and prevent weight gain. (Excess weight increases your risk of a pinched nerve.)
- Prescriptions medicines. Your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength NSAIDs or oral corticosteroids to reduce swelling. For severe pain, short-term use of narcotic medicines may be appropriate.
- Steroid injections. These injections near the affected nerve can help reduce inflammation, which should help relieve your pain and allow the nerve to heal.
- Surgery. If the pain is severe and continues despite trying other treatments, surgery may be a good option.
If a pinched nerve is keeping you from doing the things you want, schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With multiple locations across the state of Utah, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to. To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.