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Treatment for a Pinched Nerve in the Neck: the medical way, the alternative way and the at- home treatment

Updated on February 22, 2016

What does a pinched nerve look like?

The Anatomy Of A Pinched Nerve in the Neck
The Anatomy Of A Pinched Nerve in the Neck

What Exactly is "Pinching" you when we talk about a pinched nerve in the neck?

What we are talking about when we are saying: "pinched nerve" is typically a pain we are having in the neck and or arm. We often think of a bone out of alignment, pressing on a nerve. That's not really the case however. What really happens is that inflammation puts pressure on the nerve or nerves.

Here's what really happens: a spinal vertebrae gets gets shifted (misaligned). Due to the shift, the spinal bone doesn't move like it should.

Motion Is Life!

When things don't move, inflammation builds up instead of dissipating like it normally would. This build up of inflammation puts pressure on the nerve.

What are the Treatment Options for this Type of Neck Pain?

Lots of choices for this type of pain in the neck: both medical and more alternative in nature. Check out the table below for treatments available:

Treatment of a Pinched Nerve: Many Choices

Pain Medication & Muscle relaxers
Injections: Pain, trigger point therapy, facet joint
Physical Therapy
Cervical Traction
Neck Exercises
Trigger Point Therapy & Massage
Using a Tens Unit
Some choices for a treatment of a pinched nerve in the neck. Which Route would you choose?

Pain Medications and Pain Injections

Often times your doctor may recommend an anti inflammatory, sometimes a muscle relaxer, or maybe a pain medication. So depending on the severity of it, when the pain started and if the muscles are now involved, will determine the prescription.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • It always comes back to the nerves; meaning - if it's muscle for instance, the nerves innervate the muscle.
  • When we take one of these prescription medications, we should only need it for the short term. This means that it's not something we have to take forever.

Home treatments for Pinched Nerve in the Neck

We talked about, misalignments, lack of mobility, inflammation, and muscle involvement, so this is what we should work on. Here's a list of to do's:

  1. Heat to loosen an area - start with this, maybe even a few extra minutes in the morning shower. Sometimes a topical gel can be applied also.
  2. Stretches - this will help to restore motion. For the neck, putting the head through its ranges of motion works well. Neck rolls to the front and back can be done as well. This will help to increase range of motion
  3. Muscle massage. This can also help mobility by breaking up adhesion and decrease pain by allowing inflammatory factors to escape.
  4. Inflammation can also be challenged by ice therapy. Ice tends to bring that swelling down and relax that painful area. Another benefit to ice, is that it decreases the pain sensation. Basically, it numbs the pain level and will help you feel more comfortable.
  5. Cervical home stretching- to help with alignment and loosen up tightened muscles and ligaments, home traction can be very beneficial. Your doctor will help you decide if this is a home treatment that would help your condition.

More alternative Treatments you might not think of right away

Sometimes it's just best to see the professionals that see this sort of thing all the time. So here's a quick list of some helpful treatments:

  • Chiropractic Care - Correcting misaligned spines is there specialty. It can be amazing how that adjustment restores motion, relaxes muscle, and takes pain away.
  • Acupuncture - Done since B.C. time, don't knock it til you try it. Getting the body connected and communicating like it should allows it to fix itself.
  • Massage Therapy - It's a whole lot easier to have someone besides yourself work on your muscle. Sometimes, because of pain you simply can't do it.
  • Naturopath - these docs can definitely enlighten you on a more natural and healthy way to address your pain. After my sister-in-law tried the traditional treatment for her ailment with no results she turned to the naturopath, the only one who was able to help.

What treatment did you get for your pinched nerve?

What treatment worked for you?

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Treatment for a Pinched Nerve in the Neck: Traction

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