7 Simple Strategies to Relieve Pinched Nerve Pain
A pinched or entrapped nerve can cause incessant pain that ranges from nagging to debilitating, and it can interfere with your work performance and quality of life. Nerves typically glide smoothly within your body, sending and receiving messages to and from the body and brain. Nerves can become pinched when other structures like bones, muscles or connective tissue come in contact with them and begin to compress them.
Many things can contribute to pinched nerves, including:
- Poor sleeping posture
- Poor posture while sitting or standing
- Trauma from an accident or athletic injury
- Muscle overuse from work or exercise
- Inefficient movement when lifting
- Excess body weight
- Being out of shape
If you think you are suffering from a pinched nerve, there are some things you can do right away to relieve pressure and reduce pain.
- Rest and avoid pain-causing activities: Lying down can help reduce the stress load on your muscles and joints, giving nerves a break from pressure. Activities like sports or heavy lifting that may have caused nerve pressure in the first place should be avoided.
- Use ice to reduce inflammation. Herniated vertebral discs often compress your nerves. Apply a bag of frozen vegetables or an ice pack directly on the painful site for 15 minute intervals to numb pain and reduce inflammation.
- Adjust your posture. Paying close attention to the way you align your body while standing, sitting and walking can help relieve pressure. Be particularly aware of your head and neck position when using electronic devices. Try placing a pillow between your knees while sleeping to better align your spine.
- Reduce time spent sitting. Sitting for long hours on end can weaken the muscles that support your spine, setting you up for nerve pain. Try standing at your work station, and take frequent activity breaks. When relaxing at home, try sitting on the floor instead of slouching on the couch.
- Take time to stretch. Pinched nerves are often caused by tight muscles and connective tissue. Regular stretching can relax soft tissue tension, relieving pressure on your nerves. Make an extra effort to stretch your neck and low back periodically throughout the day.
- Use heat. A hot bath or shower, or a heating pad can help muscles relax, taking pressure off your nerves.
- Take NSAIDs. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen can help to numb pain and reduce inflammation so you can rest.
If self-treatment does not help after a day or two, you should seek professional help. A chiropractor or physical therapist can help identify the source of your pinched nerve pain and provide treatment to eliminate it.
The back pain specialists at NYDNRehab use the latest technology and treatment methods to diagnose and treat pinched nerve pain. Treatment approaches for pinched nerves may include DNS (dynamic neuromuscular stabilization), ISM (integrated system model approach), clinical Pilates, postural retraining, myofascial release, acupuncture, ESWT (extracorporeal shock wave therapy) and other advanced treatment methods.