The pain and accompanying indications due to a pinched neck nerve can be agonizing. A pinched neck nerve occurs if excess pressure is applied on the nerve or nerve roots by an adjacent structure. Some of these structures include cervical discs, bone spurs and tight muscles.
The usual indications of a pinched neck nerve include:
- Localized neck pain
- Muscle weakness
- Radiating pain or discomfort down the arms into the fingers
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle spasms
In most cases, recovery can be achieved with the help of conservative measures for a few days.
Commonly used remedies for a pinched neck nerve
A pinched neck nerve can be managed using these measures.
Application of ice
If a nerve in the cervical spine is irritated or pinched, inflammation is expected. The inflammatory chemicals irritate the nerve and worsens the symptoms.
Using ice packs is the ideal initial treatment when reducing the inflammation and pain. The cold works by restricting the blood vessels and slows down the inflammatory process.
Make sure that the ice pack used is not applied directly on the skin. It should be covered with a cloth or towel and applied for 20 minutes every 2 hours. During the initial 24-72 hours, heat should not be used since it increases the blood flow and inflammation.
Various medications are useful in lessening the effects of a pinched neck nerve momentarily. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually recommended since they possess pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Generally, a pinched neck nerve can be worsened by muscle spasms and the doctor might prescribe a muscle relaxant. In case the symptoms are severe, corticosteroids might be injected directly into the affected site to reduce the inflammation and pain.
In a short span of time, allowing the affected area to rest can be beneficial in alleviating some of the stress responsible for the symptoms. Resting more than a day can worsen the condition.
Remember that prolonged inactivity drastically reduces the blood flow to the site which delays healing and rapidly lead to muscle atrophy.
Exercise and stretching
Tightened and short muscles should be stretched and exercise the weak ones to lessen the stress as well as relieve the pressure placed on the nerves. Take note that exercise and stretching promotes the release of endorphins which aids with pain relief.