Neck Pain Caused By A Pinched Nerve

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neck pain caused by a pinched nerve

At Kaly, we understand how debilitating neck pain can be, especially when it’s caused by a pinched nerve. 

A pinched nerve in the neck is also known as cervical radiculopathy, and it occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve in your neck. This compression disrupts the nerve’s function, leading to pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand.

While a pinched nerve can happen to anyone, those at higher risk include people with osteoarthritis, herniated discs, bone spurs and spinal stenosis. 

Poor posture, injuries, muscle strains and even everyday activities like hunching over a computer can also contribute to nerves becoming pinched. That tingling, burning sensation radiating from your neck down your arm is a clear sign it’s time to take action.

The good news is there are many effective options for pinched nerve pain relief. We recommend starting with more conservative treatments first before considering surgery. Here are some of the best ways to find relief from a compressed nerve in the cervical spine:

Non-Surgical Treatments For Pinched Nerve Neck Pain

a woman applies cold therapy for neck pain caused by a pinched nerve

Improve Your Posture

Correcting poor posture is one of the easiest ways to take pressure off a compressed nerve. When your head juts forward, the weight strains the cervical vertebrae, compressing nerves. By keeping your ears aligned with your shoulders, you maintain the natural curve of your neck. We suggest using props like a rolled towel or specialized cervical pillow to support proper neck alignment when sleeping.

Apply Hot/Cold Therapy

Alternating hot and cold packs on your neck can alleviate inflammation pressing on nerves. Cold therapy numbs the area and reduces swelling, while heat stimulates blood flow bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients. Try a heating pad or ice packs for 15 minutes each, a few times per day.

Over-The-Counter Medications

Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help relieve nerve irritation and diminish pain signals. Always follow dosage instructions carefully and ask your doctor if NSAIDs are appropriate for your situation.

Get Plenty Of Rest

When nerves are pinched, the affected muscles grow fatigued more easily. Make sure you’re allowing your body adequate rest to heal through this injury. Sleeping in a cervical collar can provide added neck support and immobilization as you recover.

Physical Therapy Exercises

Gentle stretches and exercises can decompress pinched nerves and strengthen the supporting musculature. A physical therapist can recommend specific movements focusing on flexibility and posture. Yoga and pilates are excellent ways to gently realign the neck.

Manual Manipulation

Hands-on techniques like massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments can release built-up muscle tension aggravating nerve compression. Focus on pressure points around the neck, shoulders and back for the best results.

Ergonomic Modifications

Look at your workspace setup and make tweaks to prevent poor neck positioning. Adjust your monitor, use a wrist rest, sit properly in your chair and take frequent breaks from devices to reduce strain.

Medical Treatments For Chronic Neck Nerve Pain

If you’ve tried the above tips without success, your doctor may recommend more advanced pinched nerve treatments, like:

  • Prescription medications – Oral corticosteroids or muscle relaxers can reduce inflammation and spasms.
  • Epidural steroid injections – Steroids injected near irritated spinal nerves decrease swelling.
  • Spinal decompression – A traction device or inversion table gently stretches the spine to take pressure off nerves.
  • Radiofrequency ablation – Heat applied to nerves blocks pain signals to the brain.
  • Surgery – If conservative treatments fail, operations like disc removal or spinal fusion may be an option.

What is the best sleeping position for a pinched nerve in the neck?

Sleeping on your back or side with a cervical pillow providing extra neck support is ideal. Avoid sleeping on your stomach which twists the neck unnaturally.

Can a pinched nerve in the neck cause headaches?

Yes, the irritation of cervical nerves can refer pain into the head causing headaches. Treating the compressed nerve should provide headache relief.

Does cold or heat work better for a pinched nerve in the neck?

Alternating cold packs and heat packs often works best – cold to reduce inflammation and heat to increase blood flow. Try each for 15 minutes a few times daily.

How long does it take for a pinched nerve in the neck to heal?

With proper treatment, mild cases can resolve within a few weeks. More severe pinched nerves can take 6-12 weeks or longer to fully recover. Surgery may be needed for chronic compression.

How Kaly Can Help With Pinched Nerve Neck Pain

doctor and patient consult on neck pain caused by a pinched nerve

At Kaly, we make it easy to connect with top-rated doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and more to create a customized pain relief plan. Our intuitive platform allows you to:

  • Quickly search providers in your area with expertise treating cervical radiculopathy and other nerve conditions.
  • Read verified reviews from real patients about their experiences and satisfaction.
  • Securely book appointments online at times convenient for your schedule.
  • Send appointment details and directions directly to your calendar.
  • Safely store your medical information including imaging reports, treatment notes and medication history.

Don’t let neck pain limit your mobility and enjoyment of life. The sooner you seek treatment for a pinched nerve, the faster you’ll find relief. Kaly’s personalized guidance and world-class providers can get you back to pain-free movement.

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Pain Pinched Nerve

What are the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck?

Sharp, radiating neck and arm pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the upper extremities are the main symptoms. You may also experience reduced range of motion when turning your head.

Can massage help a pinched nerve in the neck?

Yes, gentle massage therapy can help relax the surrounding muscles putting pressure on the nerve. Focus on the shoulders, neck and upper back.

Which type of doctor treats pinched nerves in the neck?

Neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors and pain management specialists may treat cervical radiculopathy.

What kind of brace is best for a pinched nerve in the neck?

A soft cervical collar that gently immobilizes the neck without restricting range of motion works well for most cases. Rigid braces are not usually necessary.

Can you prevent getting a pinched nerve in the neck again?

Proper posture, ergonomics, regular exercise and stretching are key to preventing future nerve compression after recovery. Core strengthening also helps.

When should you see a doctor for a suspected pinched nerve in the neck?

Seek medical attention if pain persists for over a week, worsens or causes tingling/numbness down the arm. Rapid treatment prevents lasting nerve damage.

At Kaly, we’ll match you with a top specialist to accurately diagnose your neck pain and get you on the road to relief. Don’t hesitate to leverage our services for trusted guidance during injury recovery. We’re here to help you live without limitations!