15 Easy Ways to Relieve a Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Without Surgery
Are you familiar with the “pins and needles” feeling you get in your shoulder or neck? Do you experience sharp or burning pains in these areas as well?
If you’re feeling these symptoms along with weakness or numbness in your arms, you might be suffering from a pinched nerve in your shoulder.
Pinched nerves can happen when there is too much compression or irritation to a nerve.
This pressure from the surrounding tissues around the nerve can block the nerve’s function, leading to weakness, numbness, and pain.
If you are looking for some quick relief and non-surgical ways to treat a pinched nerve, then keep reading!
We share with you some of the best tips to help ease your pain from pinched nerves.
First, let’s learn more about what a pinched nerve is and what may be the cause of your symptoms:
What Is A Pinched Nerve?
Cervical radiculopathy, or more commonly known as a pinched nerve of the neck, arises when a spinal nerve becomes constricted and inflamed.
Pain from the nerve can be felt from the neck, as it radiates through the shoulder, and down to the arm.
In addition, these other symptoms may be associated with this condition:
- Numbness or loss of sensation in the area of the nerve
- Sharp burning pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms
- Tingling (“pins and needles”) feeling
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
- Feeling as if your arm is always “falling asleep”
What Causes A Pinched Nerve?
The spine is made up of 24 vertebral bones that are placed on top of each other.
These bones form a canal that protects the group of nerves in your spinal cord.
Between every vertebra is a flexible intervertebral disk that acts as a shock absorber whenever we move.
However, as we get older, these disks go through wear and tear. They become dry as they lose water content, and grow stiffer.
As a result, the disk loses height and can form bone spurs that bulge. These degenerative conditions are often known as arthritis and spondylosis.
Younger people may also suffer from a pinched nerve, particularly those who engage in sports and activities that require pulling, lifting, bending, and/or twisting.
When an injury arises from these sudden movements, it may result in a herniated disk, which will put pressure on the nerve root.
When a herniated disk bulges outwards, pressure constricts the nerve root and leads to pain and weakness in the affected area.
Furthermore, you are at greater risk when you have the following conditions:
- Bone spurs from osteoarthritis
- Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis
- Overweight or obese
- Do repetitive work that strains a muscle group (eg. assembly line work)
- Long bed rests
While the neck pain and shoulder aches may seem unbearable at first, a pinched nerve can heal over time. Generally, doctors advise conservative techniques and treatments first before considering surgery.
Here are the 15 best ways to relieve pain from a pinched nerve in your shoulder without the need for invasive surgeries:
1. Apply ice and heat packs
Pinched nerves are often related to inflammation. This can be easily relieved through hot and cold therapy. Doing so can increase the circulation of blood in the area and reduce the swelling.
Apply hot and cold packs alternately each time for at least 3 times a day.
Ice packs should be applied 15 minutes at a time, while heat packs can be applied for up to an hour.
2. Elevate your arms
One instant relief trick you can try is to elevate your arms.
Resting your hand on top of your head can temporarily reduce the pressure on the nerve root.
3. Rest the area
Nothing beats the power of good rest in order to fully recover. Give your shoulders and arms a few days off to allow them to heal.
It’s also important to avoid doing extreme and sudden movements in the area of the irritated nerve.
Nerve damage can worsen when these muscles are being overused as well.
4. Get a gentle massage
Massages are a wonderful, relaxing experience.
If you have a pinched nerve, getting a soft massage will help to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles.
For someone with a pinched nerve, soft massages work well in improving blood circulation and relaxing the muscles.
Do keep in mind that deep-tissue and other hard massages might be counterproductive to your healing process. Ask your massage therapist to keep it soft and light instead.
5. Stretch for increased flexibility
Doing stretches that increase flexibility is one of the best ways to reduce pressure and tension in your neck and shoulder.
Remember to keep your stretches gentle. Pulling your muscles too deeply can worsen your symptoms.
The most effective time to do stretches is after you have done a warm-up exercise or after your workout.
6. Be aware of your posture
Poor posture can definitely compress and irritate the nerves in your neck leading to a pinched nerve in your shoulder.
So, even though you’re just sitting at a desk or standing the entire day for your job, it’s important to be aware of your posture.
If it helps, use adjustable chairs, neck rests, and posture-friendly cushions to allow the nerve to heal.
7. Improve your workstation
Working with a bad posture puts unnecessary stress on your back and shoulders. That’s why it’s also essential to have an ergonomic workstation to keep your posture healthy while being productive.
First, make sure your screens are at eye level.
If you’re working on a laptop, you can buy a laptop stand to elevate the screen.
You may also buy an ergonomic keyboard and mouse that will make typing and clicking much more comfortable.
In addition, try using a standing desk. By having the option to either sit or stand, you improve your spine’s flexibility and reduce the occurrence of shoulder pain and backaches.
8. Use a splint
If the pinched nerve in your shoulder causes aching in your hands and wrists, you can wrap the affected area with a splint. The splint works by reducing the pressure on the nerves in your arm.
This will help prevent further irritation and allow for healing and recovery.
9. Get an ample amount of sleep
Sleep is essential for any healing process, especially for those with a pinched nerve. It is only during sleep that the body can repair itself.
Aim for a complete night’s rest of at least 7-8 hours. Also, avoid sleeping in positions that impact the affected area.
10. Do low-impact exercise
Exercising might be the last thing on your mind when your back, neck, and shoulders hurt.
But, doing low-impact workouts like walking, swimming, or cycling can help to relieve your aches and pains.
11. Improve your weight
Packing on a few extra pounds can weigh your nerves down as well. Try to achieve a healthy weight to help reduce the pressure on your nerves.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard.
By eating a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet and exercising regularly, you’ll find that your weight will drop slowly but surely.
12. Use a soft-cervical collar
Soft-cervical collars are padded rings that wrap around your neck and are locked in place with velcro.
If you have a pinched nerve, your doctor may recommend you to wear these special neck braces to relax the neck muscles.
However, it’s only advisable to wear these soft cervical-collars for a short time as long-term wear may lead to loss of muscle strength in the neck muscles.
13. Take pain-relieving medications
If your pain has been unbearable, you may opt to take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) specifically work in reducing the swelling and pain of a minor pinched nerve.
Before taking any medications, ask for a physician’s medical advice. Your doctor may recommend certain medications and dosages for you to take.
14. Ask for the help of a physical therapist
There are special exercises and stretches that you can do that specifically aim to soothe and strengthen your neck muscles. In this case, going to physical therapy would be beneficial to get the best exercises for you.
A physical therapist will be able to guide you thoroughly and carefully through these exercises.
The exercises should be designed to help your neck and shoulder muscles regain their strength while lowering your risk for injury.
15. Consider having an epidural injection
A safe and easy way to provide instant relief to your pinched nerve is through epidural injections. In this procedure, an anesthetic and a steroid medication will be injected into the nerve area that is causing you pain.
The mix of medications will give you the instant pain relief that can last for weeks up to months.
If you have not found any solutions to your neck and shoulder problems, this is your next best step before considering other invasive methods.
Relieve Your Pinched Nerve Today!
More often than not, a pinched nerve will heal on its own after a few days or so. These simple techniques will relieve your symptoms and ultimately lead to recovery and healing.
However, if your symptoms continue to last for a longer time, it might be best to get it checked.
If your pinched nerve is coupled by bladder problems, inability to grip or hold properly, or your limbs collapsing, report to your doctor right away.
Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.