7 Home Remedies for Pinched Nerve In Neck

woman with pinched nerve in neck

Are you experiencing any tingling, numbness, or pain in your neck lately? Do you feel any pins-and-needles sensations on your nape (back of the neck)?

You might be suffering from cervical radiculopathy, otherwise known as a pinched nerve in your neck.

Cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerves in the neck occurs when nerves are damaged and compressed. It arises when a nerve root becomes injured or inflamed. 

A herniated or slipped disk is one of the most common causes of this pain. It happens when the inner portion of the cushion-like soft disks between your vertebrae slips out of place or when the disk becomes damaged and presses on your nerves.

Neck pain caused by cervical radiculopathy is often aggravated by sudden lifting, twisting, or bending. Pinched nerve pain may course through your shoulders and arms which is very uncomfortable and may leave you temporarily unable to move freely.

Studies have shown that pinched nerves affect approximately 85 out of every 100,000 adults in the United States each year. Although it is most common for adults aged 50-54, many middle-aged and younger people may also experience this.

Cervical radiculopathy may need serious medical attention if not treated right away. Read on to find out more about it and how you can alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve in neck immediately at home.

WHAT DOES CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY FEEL LIKE?

Signs and symptoms of cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve) include:

  1. Sharp, aching, or severe radiating pain in the arm and shoulders
  2. Tingling, pins and needles sensations
  3. Worsening pain when you move your neck or turn your head
  4. Muscle weakness, especially with certain activities

HOW TO PREVENT A PINCHED NERVE?

Pinched Nerve in Neck

Although pinched nerves are associated with age-related degeneration of the spinal cord, you can still adjust your lifestyle to prevent neck pains and injuries. 

Here are some tips to avert it:

  • Practice good posture, especially when sitting or looking at a computer
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
  • Exercise regularly to keep your joints loose and flexible
  • Wear a seatbelt whenever you travel in a car
  • Avoid diving into shallow water
  • Wear suitable protective gear when exercising and doing any sports activities

HOW DO YOU FIX A PINCHED NERVE IN YOUR NECK AT HOME?

exercise as a home remedy for pinched nerve in neck

In severe cases, surgical treatment, such as undergoing a posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy, may be required to treat cervical radiculopathy by relieving pressure on the affected nerve root.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can relieve the pain of a pinched nerve without the hassle of surgeries and serious medications. Try these 10 home remedies:

1. REST AND SLEEP

Getting extra sleep and rest is effective in relieving many mild body pains, including nerve pinches. Sleeping also gives the spinal cord, along with other parts of the body, time to heal.

Avoid physical activities that may increase your pain and overuse of the affected nerves, such as lifting heavy objects, high-impact sports, and high-intensity and high-speed exercises. 

Sleeping also heals nerves as the body repairs itself during sleep. Getting enough rest and sleep also helps the body reduce symptoms quicker.

2. ADJUSTMENT OF POSTURE

A pinched nerve also occurs when you have poor posture due to the constant strain on a particular set of neck muscles which causes nerve compression.

An incorrect posture, when you sit or stand, can cause unnecessary stress on your body and may lead to damage to the spinal cord, muscles, and, eventually, a pinched nerve.

Adjust your posture to a position that will allow your body to rest more naturally. Use cushions, adjustable chairs, or neck rests too to help you relieve pressure on the nerve and allow it to heal.

3. SWITCH TO AN ERGONOMIC WORKSTATION

ergonomic workstation

Upgrading your workstation at home to a more ergonomic option may help you relieve pain associated with cervical radiculopathy.

Use an ergonomic computer set, chair, and table to help reduce pressure on your hand, wrists, and back. Most modern chairs are now being designed with particular emphasis on reducing neck pain and other symptoms of a pinched nerve by reducing the pressure applied to the cervical spine while a person is seated.

A standing workstation can also keep your spine moving and flexible to lessen back pains. By alternating between sitting and standing, you ensure that no nerve in the neck is subjected to constant pressure thus reducing the risk of cervical radiculopathy.

[Read more: Back Pain: Five Exercises That Can Lead to Long-Term Damage]

4. ICE AND HEAT COMPRESS

You can use either a hot or cold compress to reduce body swelling and inflammation. 

Apply a hot pack wrapped in a cloth or heating pads directly onto the pinched nerve for 10-15 minutes at a time. This method relaxes tight muscles around a pinched nerve and increases blood flow, which is vital in the healing process.

You can also apply ice packs to reduce swelling and inflammation. Just hold the cold compress wrapped in a cloth directly onto the pinched nerve for 10-15 minutes.

5. OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN RELIEVERS

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, also decrease swelling and relieve the pain of minor pinched nerves. These pain relievers are available for purchase over-the-counter or online.

However, this solution will only help with pain management and does not affect the root causes of cervical radiculopathy. You should not continue to use pain medication if symptoms worsen.

It is highly recommended that you seek medical advice from your doctor first before taking new medications so that you are made aware of all the risk factors.

6. SPLINT

Wearing a splint or soft cervical collar when you get a nerve pinched is one of the standard treatments to heal the affected area and prevent further damage to the already affected nerve roots.

There are many splint designs to choose from, and you can select one that gives you comfort while your spinal nerve roots have time to heal.

A soft cervical collar is also a great help when you sleep at night because during sleep you have limited control of your movements. This can result in you sleeping in the wrong position which would actually be applying further pressure to the affected nerve in the neck.

7. PHYSICAL THERAPY

Getting a massage may help to reduce pain, numbness, and stress. 

Apply gentle pressure around your neck and other affected areas to relieve tension and relax the muscles. 

Be reminded that deep tissue massages aren’t advisable since any excess pressure on the body can worsen the symptoms.

Physical therapy consisting of exercises, massages, and stretches can also cure the symptoms. For many individuals, a personalized physical therapy plan can quickly and efficiently ease nerve problems.

Exercises, such as side bends, walking, yoga, and neck tilts, are among the many gentle physical activities that you can do to ease the pain and discomfort of a pinched nerve.

8. STRETCHING AND YOGA

neck yoga

Yoga has been used for many centuries by different cultures due to its health benefits. When done correctly, a little bit of gentle stretching combined with some yoga positions that target the cervical spine area can be very beneficial to relieve pain and the effects of nerve compression.

However, cervical radiculopathy can actually be worsened by overstretching, so great care needs to be taken. After the symptoms have passed, regular yoga exercises can be used as a way to reduce general muscle weakness and, in particular, strengthen the neck muscles.

9. ELEVATE THE LEGS

Too much pressure on the cervical spine is one of the reasons that cause cervical radiculopathy symptoms in the first place, so removing this pressure allows the area to heal. One way of doing this is by elevating the legs to allow the compressed nerves in the spinal canal to elongate and relax.

An easy way to do this is by placing a few pillows underneath the knees until your legs are at an angle of about 45 degrees to the body. When you manage to achieve the right position, you will feel the symptoms of cervical radiculopathy lessen as nerve compression is reduced.

10. LIFESTYLE CHANGES

A lifestyle change can be the best way to both treat and prevent future problems of cervical radiculopathy.

An overly sedentary lifestyle can lead to neurological disorders such as a pinched nerve. By adding a few exercise routines and maintaining a healthy weight, you give yourself the best chance of recovery.

Repetitive actions should be avoided as they can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, and when this happens close to a nerve in the neck, you can end up with cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerves.

[For more tips, read: How to Get Rid of Pain in Neck and Shoulder Radiating Down Arm]

CAN A PINCHED NERVE LEAD TO MORE SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS?

old woman consulting a doctor for her pinched nerve problems

The answer is yes.

Pinched nerves on your neck, arms, and other parts of the body can cause severe pain and permanent nerve damage. 

Call a healthcare provider right away if you have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your arms or legs that didn’t disappear after some time
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Loss of genital or anal regions sensations

These symptoms are signs of serious conditions, and you may need to undergo surgery to prevent further nerve damage. 

TREAT THE PINCHED NERVE IN YOUR NECK NOW!

A pinched nerve usually goes away on its own within a few days or weeks if given immediate treatments and remedies.

However, you should seek medical attention for your pinched nerves if the pain does not go away a couple of days after trying the home remedies mentioned above.

If you need a medical consultation for your pinched nerve, don’t hesitate to visit us at the Vascular & Interventional Specialist of Prescott or call 928.771.8477 for more information.