Relief for Pinched Nerve in the Neck
Description: What is Pinched Nerve in the Neck?
The nervous system is very complex and begins at the brain, moving down the spine and branching out to the other extremities of the body. A pinched nerve in your neck can mimic other pinched nerves as you may feel various types of pain sensations that radiate down your neck, into your spine and throughout the rest of your body. In many cases, the soft tissue surrounding the spine calcifies decreasing the section where nerve fibers pass through. This causes compression which can lead to a pinched nerve in your neck.
Body pain is never welcome. Irrespective of the kind of pain that one is going through, the discomfort is annoying and, at times, agonizing.
Though we may have experienced different kinds of pains like a muscular pain, a toothache, abdominal pain and the like, the pain caused by a pinched or herniated nerve is excruciating.
Pinched Nerve Symptoms
- Pain that radiates from neck to outer extremities
- Numbness or weakness
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Sharp pain when moving neck
Pinched Nerve in Neck: Coping & Relief Strategies
Try not to turn or move your head in any direction that may agitate the pinched nerve in your neck. Immobilize your head with a cervical collar as this will prevent muscle spasms and inflammation of the nerve root. Take a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication to relieve any pain.
In most cases, a pinched nerve in the neck will not last very long. However, if you notice that pain is increasing or occurring over a long period of time, speak with a physician. A doctor or chiropractor may use low-force manipulation techniques to see if any relief occurs. If not, surgical intervention may be necessary, and you should speak with an Otolaryngologist.
Pinched nerve – Diagnosis and treatment
A pinched nerve can arise from undue pressure on the nerve. This can happen due to many reasons – a physical deformity, a slipped disc, a muscle rupture near the nerve or a suture or scar. Since our vertebral column is most susceptible to injury and dislocation, the probability of a nerve in the neck getting pinched is extremely high. The pain that a herniated or pinched nerve causes in the neck can actually leave you in a bed-ridden condition if proper care is not taken.
Which is why taking care of the vertebral column becomes extremely important. Bad posture, overuse of the vertebral column and age can add to the possibility of a pinched nerve. The four regions of the column – cervical, thoracic, lumbar and pelvic are a mixture of complex concave and convex curvatures and are equally liable to get abused.
The condition of sciatica pain and a pinched nerve in the neck are similar to a large extent since both are caused by a pinched nerve. The only difference is in the location of the nerve. While sciatica nerve pain occurs in the lower back and extends to the toes, pain from a pinched nerve remains in the upper half of the body.
Regular sciatic nerve treatment is almost always effective for relieving pain caused by a pinched or a herniated disc in the cervical region too. Conventional medication focuses on pain relief through pain killers and invasive treatment involving fusion surgery. Though these treatments provide comfort to the patient, they do not address the basic cause of the disease. The option of surgery has also been known to come with its own set of problems without the guarantee of complete cure.
Treatments like sciatica alternative remedies take more time to start showing significant results but aid in ensuring that the problem is uprooted from the roots. The treatment also has regimes that help in pain management.
One of the alternative treatments is exercise. For patients of cervical pain, aquatic and land exercises are specially designed with a focus on the neck and shoulders. Areas like the arm circles and shoulder rolls are paid special attention to since they help in maintaining different motion sections of the cervical spine.
Some of the other sciatica alternative remedies that have shown encouraging results and can be used for cervical disc problems as well are:
* Acupuncture – the ancient Chinese technique of inserting needles (very fine and sterile) at vital points to release blocked energy flows.
* Acupressure – another ancient Chinese technique of applying mild to medium pressure at specific points to allow self-healing.
* Chiropractic treatment – a treatment that focuses on manual manipulations of bones to put them back to their original setting removing the pressure from the nerve.
* Heat and cold therapies – a treatment that is based on the principle that heat improves circulation and cold reduces inflammations.
* – an Indian therapy that has a holistic approach and aims at improving overall mental and physical health.
What causes neck pain?
Keep in mind that there are many causes to neck pain. These include whiplash, arthritis, muscle strain, degenerative disc disease and a pinched nerve. Another interesting fact that many people don’t realize is that neck pain or a pinched nerve in your neck could be directly related to back or spinal cord issues.
This is why it is important to speak with your doctor in order to properly identify what is causing your neck pain. Some tools that your doctor may use are X-Rays, CT Scans, an MRI and Electrodiagnostic studies.
How can my neck pain be treated?
Treatment for a pinched nerve in your neck or neck pain in general will vary from person to person. Some people find relief by utilizing a chiropractor or physical therapy. Other people use electrotherapy or acupuncture. Because posture can be related to neck and shoulder pain, some people purchase a new bed or mattress.
Make sure your pillow is soft and keeps your neck straight, but also make sure that it is not too high. Depending how severe your pain is, you can also try a topical ointment such as IcyHot or Bengay.
Keep in mind that car accidents, strenuous muscle activity or poor posture are considered to be risk factors for neck and shoulder pain. Your doctor may recommend a neck brace and/or neck and shoulder strengthening exercises in order to increase/decrease mobility and strengthen the muscles in these areas.
Doctors recommend that you should slow your activity for the first couple days after you notice that you have neck pain. After a couple days, you can resume your activities however you should not lift heavy items or twist your neck in awkward positions. During your initial recovery period, you should avoid activities such as running, lifting weights and certain sports.
How do I prevent neck pain?
One of the best ways to prevent neck and shoulder pain is by utilizing good habits. For example, it is not good to keep your head or neck in compressed in the same position for extended periods of time. For example, if you spend a lot of time on the computer, sit up straight and keep your feet planted on the floor. Sleeping habits are also important too. Make sure you keep your neck straight on your pillow.
Do not bend your neck in awkward positions. If you are smoking, you should quit as smoking has a negative impact on spine structure. Maintaining a healthy weight is important too as excess weight places additional strain on muscles and joints.
What approach should I take when treating my neck pain?
Finally, you should have a conservative approach to treating neck and shoulder pain. This includes starting with basic, non-surgical methods and slowly increasing your approach as pain worsens and your mobility becomes more limited.
As stated previously, surgery should only be a last resort, and it is best to consult with your doctor to find which surgical process would be right for your. Only your doctor can diagnose a condition and recommend different avenues of treatment.