A pinched nerve is an inflamed, irritated nerve in the neck. The nerves in the neck are extremely sensitive, so when compressed between ligaments, tendons, or neck bones, these nerves begin sending pain signals throughout the body. This compression is how you develop a pinched nerve in the neck.
A pinched nerve occurs when the tissues in the surrounding area are not in the proper position or are not functioning correctly. They can also occur due to poor posture, unnecessary stress or pressure due to work, or sports injuries.
Several disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica occur due to a pinched nerve. These can be treated with the help of sciatica exercises and stretches for neck pain.
If you are unsure of the source of your neck pain, look for some of the following symptoms of a pinched nerve:
- Burning and stinging pain
- Muscle weakness
- The affected area may feel as if it has “fallen asleep” or feel like “pins and needles”
Try combatting your nerve pain with the following suggestions:
To properly heal a pinched nerve, sleep is essential. When you are awake, your body is focused on other activities, diverting its attention away from recovery, but when you sleep the body can focus on repairs.
Try sleeping in a position that stabilizes the nerve and eliminates unnecessary stress or pressure to the area.
It is essential that you give the nerve and surrounding area a break, making sure not to overuse the nerve while it is healing.
Poor posture may be the reason for the pinched nerve in the neck, and continuing it will only make it worse.
Standing and sitting in a slouchy position for an extended period places undue stress on the neck and lower back muscles. This stress then increases the likelihood of the spine and surrounding muscles becoming damaged and causing nerve pain.
Relieve pressure associated with bad posture by using cushions and neck rests while sitting, and every time you think about it straighten your back to help the nerve heal.
3. Pain Relievers
Try taking over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain associated with a pinched nerve in the neck. For example, Ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and relieves pain.
4. Stretching and Yoga
Yoga and gentle stretches are great for stimulating movement in the neck. Stretching relieves pressure in the damaged, stressed tissues. Be careful not to stretch too far, as over-stretching can be harmful to a recovering body.
Yoga is designed to teach the body to relieve pressure and stress in stiff areas. With practice, you should be able to control and eliminate neck pain through simple movements and stretches.
If stretching and yoga worsen your symptoms, stop immediately and seek professional attention.
5. Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care
Massage therapy is also helpful in eliminating nerve pain in the neck, as it aims to work out the stress and tension in the body. A massage can help relax the muscles and reduce swelling.
Be careful to apply only slight pressure on the affected area, as it is sensitive and recovering.
Chiropractic care can also be helpful during recovery, as it is a combination of massage therapy and guided stretches, and exercise.
6. Elevate Your Legs
Some people with pinched nerve pain claim that elevation of the legs relieves neck and spinal pain. Try sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, your back straight, with pillows beneath your knees, so your legs make a 45° angle with the body.
7, Ice and Heat Therapy
Hot compresses and ice packs are great anti-inflammatory agents as alternating between heat and ice therapy significantly eliminates swelling and redness. The alternation of hot and cold circulates blood in and out of the affected area which stimulates healing and should reduce pain.
Use an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce inflammation and apply heat pads for longer (up to an hour at a time).
A Chiropractor can determine an in-office and at-home treatment plan to ensure you recover as soon as possible.