If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to deal with a pinched nerve once in your lifetime. Depending on the location and severity of the problem, the pain can be quite intense.
A pinched nerve means there is some kind of damage or injury to a nerve or set of nerves, which may result from compression, constriction or stretching of the nerves.
Inflammation from an injury, bad posture or a poor sleeping position are some common causes of a pinched nerve. Arthritis, spinal misalignment, bone spurs and herniated discs can also cause this problem.
Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include numbness, pins and needles sensations, a burning sensation and sharp pain radiating outward from the injured area. Sometimes, symptoms worsen when you attempt certain movements, such as turning your head or straining your neck.
A pinched nerve is often associated with pain in the neck or lower back. However, nerve compression in your neck or arm may also affect areas like the elbows, hands, wrists or fingers.
The pain of a pinched nerve can make you quite miserable, and carrying on with everyday activities, even sleeping can be difficult.
If not treated timely, it can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, sciatica, and other severe conditions.
The occasional pinched nerve is usually treatable at home. Many natural remedies can alleviate the symptoms and promote healing. But if the pain is severe and affects your mobility, it is important to see a doctor.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a pinched nerve.
1. Adjust Your Posture
As poor posture is one of the main causes of a pinched nerve, the first step you need to take is improving your posture. Changing the way you sit and stand will help relieve pain and can even reduce compression or constriction of the nerve.
For a pinched nerve in your neck, be sure to keep your chin in a neutral position. It should not be too far forward or pulled too far back. At the same time, your shoulders should be in an upright position, which you can maintain by gently squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Always sit up straight and keep your body straight and upright while walking or standing. Avoid drooping. By making a conscious effort to maintain proper posture, you can easily treat a pinched nerve in the neck or back.
No matter where the pinched nerve is or what caused it, you need to rest the affected area as much as possible. Granted, resting is often easier said than done, but its importance in healing must not be underestimated.
In fact, resting is a very effective way to treat a pinched nerve in your neck.
Avoid any kind of activity that causes you pain, such as tennis, golf or texting. Rest until the symptoms have completely resolved.
Along with limiting your activities, sleeping longer will give your body more time to heal. If needed, use a neck brace to limit your movement while you sleep. Avoid sleeping on your stomach; try to sleep on your back or side.
To treat a pinched nerve in your lower back, try elevating your legs a few inches while resting or sleeping.
3. Use a Cold Compress
For temporary and quick relief from pinched nerve pain, you can use a cold compress. The cold temperature will help relieve pain by numbing the affected area. It also reduces swelling and inflammation.
- Put a few ice cubes in a plastic, sealable bag.
- Wrap the bag in a hand towel.
- Hold the ice pack directly on the area with the pinched nerve for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
- Repeat every hour or so, as needed.
Note: Never apply ice directly on your skin, as it can cause cold burns.
4. Apply Heat
After the first day (24 hours) of suffering from a pinched nerve, you can apply heat on the affected area to relax the muscles that might be tight around the nerve.
Heat provides comfort and helps the healing process, as it improves blood circulation to the site of the injured nerve.
- Soak a washcloth in warm water and squeeze out the excess water.
- Put the warm compress on the affected area for 10 minutes at a time.
- Repeat as needed.
You can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
5. Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Magnesium is critical for the body to heal and for nerve pain. Epsom salt is one of the best ways to maintain a proper magnesium level in the body. In fact, the body will absorb magnesium from the Epsom salt very quickly.
It also works as a natural anti-inflammatory agent as well as helps relax tightened muscles around the area of the pinched nerve.
- Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt in a bathtub filled with warm water.
- Soak your body in it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use this remedy 2 times a week until your condition improves.
6. Do a Warm Oil Massage
Massaging the affected area with some warm oil is another effective way to combat the sharp pain caused by a pinched nerve.
Massage activates the pressure points, which in turn increases blood supply, relaxes stiff muscles, improves mobility and reduces pain.
- Rub some warm mustard, coconut or olive oil on the affected area. Optionally, add a few drops of peppermint oil.
- Massage with gentle strokes for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this 2 or 3 times daily until you notice improvement in your condition.
Ask others for help if you cannot reach the affected area with ease.