If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve, you know just how disruptive it can be to your life. We’ll outline some home remedies that you can try to help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with a pinched nerve.
A pinched nerve occurs when force or pressure is placed on a nerve that can lead to an array of symptoms, which may be worse when lying down or just after waking, including:
While a pinched nerve can happen anywhere in the body, they are most common in the back, neck, elbows, and wrists.
Usually a pinched nerve happens when the nerve is damaged and is unable to send normal signals to the brain, resulting in the above-mentioned symptoms. A pinched nerve can happen for a variety of reasons including disc herniation, bone spurs, arthritis, obesity, and certain activities such as poor posture when sitting, standing, or walking and sports injuries.
Resting the affected area and ensuring that you get enough sleep can help to treat your pinched nerve symptoms. Additionally, avoid overusing the affected area as this can make your symptoms worse. Sleeping in a comfortable position, that takes pressure off the nerve, is vital for healing of the nerve because the body repairs and rejuvenates itself while you sleep.
Applying ice to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, for the first 72 hours after your symptoms appear, can help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with a pinched nerve. After the first 72 hours, applying moist heat to the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time can help to soothe muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which encourages healing.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve can be caused by, or worsened by, poor posture because incorrect posture puts added stress on the body. Utilize aids such as cushions, pillows, and adjustable chairs to help maintain a neutral posture, which will help to relieve pressure on the nerve, allowing it time to heal.
Ensuring that your desk is set up correctly can help to improve your posture and take pressure off of nerves. Using ergonomic aids such as an ergonomic mouse and keyboard can take pressure off the nerves of the hands and wrists. Additionally, positioning your computer monitor at eye level can help to reduce stress on your neck. In cases of back pain, using a standing workstation may be beneficial because it helps to keep your spine flexible.
Over-the-counter medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), can help to reduce swelling in the area and relieve pain associated with a pinched nerve.
Gentle stretching can help to reduce tension and pressure in the affected area. However, ensure that you’re not stretching too deeply as this can actually make your symptoms worse. Additionally, if you notice pain or discomfort while stretching, stop immediately to avoid further damage to the nerve.
Applying gentle pressure with your hands to the affected area may help to relieve tension by helping muscles to relax.
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, wearing a splint, especially at night, can help to protect your wrists by keeping them in proper alignment. This helps to relieve pressure on the affected nerve and decrease your symptoms.
This might have the biggest impact for treating and preventing future pinched nerves. Adding low-impact exercise into your daily routine, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, can help to reduce your symptoms and keep your body in shape. Additionally, consuming a healthy diet that is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which can decrease pressure on your nerves and relieve your symptoms.
Most pinched nerves are not serious and can be managed at home. However, in some cases your discomfort may persist, which may be a signal that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. The physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation can assess your condition if you’re experiencing persistent symptoms, to get to the root of the problem. From there they can develop a treatment plan to help address your symptoms and get you back to your normal activities.