You may have heard the term “pinched nerve” sometime in your life. This is often the way people express that they have back or neck pain. Technically, a pinched nerve is a nerve root that has become compressed as it exits the spinal column. Sometimes it is a misalignment of two or more vertebrae that press on a nerve. Sometimes it is a herniated disc. There are a few different reasons that nerve compression can occur. Depending on the cause, it may be possible to improve comfort without medical intervention. Here, we discuss some of the home remedies that may be tried. Keep in mind, though, that if back or neck pain does not go away with conservative therapies, it is important to schedule a consultation with a spinal specialist.
Spotting a Pinched Nerve
Before we offer tips for treating a pinched nerve, let’s look at what this condition may feel like. More than simple back or neck pain, a pinched nerve may cause:
- A sensation of numbness around the nerve or along its path (such as down the arm).
- Paresthesia, best described as a tingling sensation in the arms or legs.
- Easy muscle fatigue when performing certain activities.
- Sharp pain, burning, or aching around the nerve or radiating from its origin.
- Diminished responsiveness in a limb, as if it has fallen asleep.
Conservative Remedies for a Pinched Nerve
Home remedies for a pinched nerve are suggested based on the premise that certain factors may be at play, such as excess weight or poor posture. The following may or may not be successful because, without an accurate diagnosis, it is possible that the underlying cause is not being addressed.
- Improve posture when standing, sitting, and using electronic devices. An example of poor posture is sitting with the head slightly forward when using a laptop. Ideally, the spine will remain in a neutral position during routine activities.
- When an injury of any kind occurs, the body needs extra rest to recover. Literally, this tip is to sleep more and better, if at all possible. When we sleep, the body engages in cellular repair that regenerates muscle and other tissues.
- Everyone may not have time for a daily yoga session, but just about everyone can take 10 to 15 minutes to stretch their muscles every day. When pain is present, stretching must be done with care, ensuring sore muscles are moved gently so further injury does not occur. Depending on the degree or persistence of pain, physical therapy may be needed.
- Use medication as directed. Some medications can help soothe inflammation and pain related to a pinched nerve. Sometimes, an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory is sufficient. As pain improves with medication, however, one must still be careful to avoid overuse.
- Get a massage. Massage therapy may feel like pampering, but this technique can do wonders to loosen the muscles that tighten around a pinched nerve. Consistently tight back and neck muscles can tug on the spinal column, urging it to misalign.
Persistent neck and back pain that does not improve with home care needs to be evaluated in the medical office. Dr. Watson is an esteemed pain specialist in Tampa who has helped many people overcome pain with innovative, minimally-invasive laser treatment. To learn more about our services, call (813) 920-3022.