A pinched nerve is a common ailment that can leave you feeling sore. Your range of motion is likely to be limited, and you will have to take a step back from your usual level of activity. When you pinch a nerve, you might experience numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the affected area. All of these things can be extremely unpleasant, but how does a pinched nerve actually happen?
Understanding this type of pain is important so that you can begin to treat it appropriately. Pinched nerves occur when some other part of your body places increased pressure on a specific nerve. This could mean that a disc or bone is out of place, or it could be a group of inflamed muscles placing pressure on the nerve.
Depending on how severe your pinched nerve is, it may require professional attention from a chiropractor or specialist. However, many people can alleviate their symptoms from the comfort of their own home. Try a few of these proven home remedies for a pinched nerve to see what works the best for you.
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9 Proven Home Remedies For A Pinched Nerve: All Natural!
1. Correct Your Posture
The way you carry yourself can play a huge role in the health of your spine. Slouching or bending your neck often can create a lot of pressure that leads to a pinched nerve. This is particularly common for individuals who work hunched over their desk all day. Your posture is certain to suffer based on the circumstances that you’re in.
According to research by the National Institutes of Health, poor posture makes your spine more susceptible to injury. Wear and tear are more common on the spine and neck when you consistently exert extra pressure on these areas unnecessarily.
You can easily correct your workspace environment to improve your posture. Here are a few tips for things you can try in your office today:
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- Set your computer monitor directly at eye-level.
- Stretch your neck and back at least once an hour.
- Take a walk through the office a few times each day.
- Hold your phone closer to your face instead of down in your lap.
2. Take a Break
For dedicated exercise aficionados, hitting the gym on a daily basis is a necessity. An active recovery is the best way to keep your body moving and building muscle. However, a pinched nerve may require you to take a break from your regular exercise routine. Avoid exercising the same way you always do until the pain of your pinched nerve goes away entirely. For example, you may have to give up tennis but running could still be a viable solution.
You can still exercise other areas of your body, but be conscious to allow your pinched nerve to rest. Once it feels better, you can lightly resume your usual routine. Simply pause your progress if the pain returns again.
3. Apply Heat
A pinched nerve often requires some immediate relief from the unpleasant sensation. You can gain some respite from the pain by applying heat for short periods of time. A good heating pad helps to relax the muscles and increase the blood flow in the affected area. You should only hold this treatment to your pinched nerve for fifteen minutes. However, you may choose to do this several times each day.
Heat is deemed to be one of the effective home remedies for a pinched nerve. According to research, applying heat is just as effective as a spinal manipulation performed by your local chiropractor.
If you don’t have a heating pad, you can follow the steps found here to make one using a dry sock and uncooked rice:
- Fill the dry sock up with one cup of uncooked rice.
- Microwave for about one minute and then check to see if it is hot enough.
- Apply the hot pack to the pinched nerve.
4. Apply a Cold Pack
A cold pack is one of other excellent proven home remedies for a pinched nerve. It works similarly to a hot pack, but it does have a few major differences. A hot pack increases blood flow and loosens up the muscle. An ice pack is known to reduce the swelling in your muscles and ultimately lower your inflammation.
Before you begin, wrap your ice pack in a towel or thick cloth. Hold it on the affected area for no more than fifteen minutes at a time. You may choose to do this action multiple times throughout the day depending on how much pain your pinched nerve is causing you.
5. Gentle Stretching
Pinched nerves often have tension and high amounts of pressure in the muscles surrounding them. You can alleviate some of this stress through gentle stretching postures, similar to those found in yoga. Move slowly and gingerly through the stretches to avoid doing more damaged to your pinched nerve. Intense stretching is not a good idea until your pinched nerve has time to heal.
If you ever experience pain or even mild discomfort in a certain position, stop immediately. This is a sign that you will be doing further damage to the nerve and prolonging your recovery time.
Here are a few different gentle stretches that you may want to try, depending on where your pinched nerve is located:
- Chin Tuck: Place your fingers on your chin and push it down toward the neck for three seconds. Repeat five times.
- Shoulder Roll: Roll your shoulders up, back, and down five times. Switch directions and roll them the other way.
- Side Bends: Stand up tall with your feet hip width apart. Lean gently to the left for a few seconds and then to the right. Try to keep your spine nice and long as you stretch.
- Twist: Sit up tall on the edge of your desk chair. Bring your right arm across to rest on the left knee. Bring the left arm behind you and twist, making sure to keep your spine long. Hold for five seconds and then repeat on the other side.
6. Wear a Splint
For some pinched nerves, you might have the option of wearing a splint. Many individuals who suffer from the pinched nerves found in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome utilize this method. This often applies to areas of the body such as:
A splint prevents these areas of the body from moving in their usual way. It forces them to rest and remain still, giving the pinched nerve an opportunity to heal. One of the main benefits of wearing a splint around the clock is that it allows you to protect this sensitive area during your sleep. It takes some of the pressure off the nerve and gives it enough space to heal.
7. Take Medications
You don’t have to see your doctor in order to take pain-relieving medication for your pinched nerve. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recommends that you take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medications like these include ibuprofen or Motrin.
Drugs in this category help to reduce the swelling in your muscles and actively work to ward off pain. Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about taking these medications to help your pinched nerve. Always ask them for dosage considerations and any potential drug interactions with your usual medication.
Can you think of anything more relaxing than a good massage? With your newly pinched nerve, you now have an excuse to sign up for one! A good massage helps to relieve tension throughout the muscles of the body. It can help muscles to relax in the affected area, taking pressure off of your pinched nerve.
Be cautious when getting a massage and always let your masseuse know that you have a pinched nerve. It is not advised to apply extra pressure or deep tissue massage to the affected area. It can do more harm than good when this is the case. Go to an experienced masseuse who you trust to work well with your condition.
9. Elevate Your Legs
This might sound like a silly exercise, but it definitely helps to relieve pain associated with a pinched nerve in the lower back. Lay flat on the floor and elevate your legs to a 45-degree angle. You may need to place some pillows under your knees so that you can hold this position for an extended period of time. The proper angle found in this position relieves some of the tension and pressure from on the spine.
If a 45-degree angle doesn’t bring you any relief, you can try bringing your legs up to a 90-degree angle, bending at the knees. This may give your lower back a more intense stretch that helps to alleviate some of that pressure in your lower back.
With the right tools and exercises at your disposal, you can certainly treat the pain of a pinched nerve at home. All of these are relatively simple ways to alleviate the pain, even if only temporarily. If the pain continues for an extended period of time despite these tips, you should seek out the help of a professional chiropractor. You may need more specialized treatment to get to the heart of the issue. To know more useful tips for other health conditions, visit our homepage!
Dr. Wells is the experienced Wasilla chiropractor behind Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab. He is a member of many national organizations including the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. His clinic continues to grow as he focuses on a multi-disciplinary method to treating each one of his clients.