From a medical point of view, a pinched nerve is a nerve that has been compressed, injured, or damaged. Most commonly, the problem affects the root of the nerve. The root is the part associated with branching off. The problem can affect various parts of the back and can even target the neck or the thoracic part. If left untreated, the issue can lead to radiculopathy, which will cause numerous complications. Learning how to fix a pinched nerve in neck is relatively simple with the right lifestyle changes.
The affection is more common in people aged over 50. The spine suffers from natural degeneration, which causes all kinds of problems – nerves are clearly affected too. With time, discs will also shorten, meaning the vertebrae will end up compressing. Nerves will be irritated, leading to the pinched nerve. When affecting the neck, this problem feels like needles or pins. It may spread to shoulders or even arms and hands.
While a severe situation will clearly require medical attention, mild and moderate symptoms are relatively simple to deal with and can be tackled at home.
How to fix pinched nerve in neck
1. Get more rest
Extra rest will always help against such problems. In fact, sleep is critical when the nerve is healing. Your body will repair itself while you sleep, so give yourself at least eight hours of sleep. In many cases, resting and sleeping more will make the problem disappear by itself.
When dealing with a pinched nerve, make sure you look after the affected area and do not overuse it. Overusing it can worsen the condition. Avoid movements or activities that are more likely to irritate the nerve and the pain will ameliorate in no time.
2. Get an ergonomic workstation
Whether you work from home, in an office or you simply spend many hours a day gaming or being in front of your computed, changing your workstation will work wonders. Even if the problem goes away for a while, it will reappear if you stick to the same unhealthy position.
You can start by investing in an ergonomic mouse – as well as an ergonomic keyboard. Raise the monitor to be in front of your eyes. A standing workstation may be uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it and will reduce the pain. There are many positional options out there to choose from.
3. Do some stretches and yoga
There are more forms of stretching out there, but yoga seems to be the most popular one. Such exercises will remove tension from all affected parts. Stick to exercises and poses that target the neck, as this is where you want the tension gone. Make sure you do not overreact, as discomfort can worsen the issue.
If you experience further pains or more intense symptoms while doing physical activity, stop right away. Chances are you are doing it too hard, so you might damage the nerve some more – you risk aggravating the condition then.
4. Wear a splint
A splint may not necessarily be the right option when going out or in work, but you can do it at home – assuming you spend more time at home to relax. If you can, wear the splint on the affected area. It will prevent further issues and can heal the nerve much faster. This is a classic treatment that even doctors recommend.
While it may seem a bit unusual at first, many patients aim to fix pinched nerve in neck by sleeping with a splint too. This type of treatment prevents further irritations while sleeping. The splint simply removes the pressure off your nerves.
5. Use heat and ice packs
Ideally, you should alternate between these two different treatments. Start with a heat pack, then move on to an ice pack and so on. These procedures will reduce the actual inflammation. Alternating will also stimulate the blood circulation. Fresh and clean blood in the affected area will ameliorate the painful sensations.
Heat pads can be applied for up to an hour – around three times a day. Ice packs can be held on the affected area for 15 minutes – three times a day. Ice packs are more uncomfortable, but totally worth the final result.
6. Adopt a healthy posture
Sometimes, the pinched nerve is caused by maintaining a bad posture over a long period of time. Even if the cause is different, a bad posture is more likely to aggravate the problem. A bad posture will put more stress on all parts of the body, hence the necessity to do something about it. Not only does this posture damage the nerves, but it will also affect the muscles – the pinched nerve is moments away.
A healthy posture can be achieved in more ways. You can use an adjustable chair when working in front of the computer. If you do not have one, use a few cushions to change the position of the body. On the other hand, a bad posture while standing up requires more help.
7. Get some physical therapy
Physical therapy is one of the best options to fix pinched nerve in neck and can embrace multiple forms – with the massage being the most popular one. It will reduce the stress and pain in the area. You need to apply gentle pressure – if the pain feels worse, you are doing it wrong. A full body massage will also help the neck, as adjacent muscles will also relax – you would need to reach to a professional for such a massage.
Deep tissue massages may seem appealing, but they are contraindicated. They bring in lots of pressure, meaning you will aggravate the condition. Physical therapy is better and uses more techniques – from gentle massages and stretches to various exercises.
8. Elevate your legs
This is a simple type of exercise that can help you relax. It is a position you can keep for minutes while taking a break – check your social media or perhaps read a book. The exercise is mostly recommended for pinched nerves in the back, but it relaxes the back and can also work for a pinched never in the neck too.
Get a few pillows under your knees – ideally, the legs should be raised at a 45 degree angle.
9. Make some lifestyle changes
Learning how to fix pinched nerve in neck may also have something to do with your lifestyle. If the condition has aggravated in the long run and not as the result of an injury, it is most likely a lifestyle issue. In the long run, implementing low impact exercises can change the outcome and ameliorate the discomfort.
Such exercises involve walking, cycling or perhaps swimming. A healthy diet will also help in the process. Are you overweight? Lose some weight and you will reduce the pressure on all nerves and not just the ones in your neck. The extra mobility associated with regular physical activity will keep the inflammation under control too.
No matter what type of exercises you opt for, start with a five-minute stretching session to add some flexibility to your body and reduce potential injuries. A short stretching session is handy after the workout as well.
10. Get some medication
This option is not natural, but it can fix pinched nerve in neck if the above ideas do not work or the discomfort is too severe. Ideally, you should get some medication after talking to a doctor, yet there are over-the-counter pain drugs that will relieve the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available in all pharmacies and will relieve pain.
While you can find dosage recommendations or contraindications in the prospect, a severe pain that requires medical attention should definitely be handled by a doctor first. A doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe drugs that you may not be able to buy otherwise.
As a short final conclusion, there are multiple options to fix pinched nerve in neck. It does pay off understanding the causes and what triggered the problem. Most of the above-mentioned solutions are natural and can be done at home – some of them provide immediate relief, while others will help the nerve heal in the long run.
Medications may come with side effects, but they are your best bets when the pain is too severe and interferes with your daily activities – see a doctor first.
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