How to Treat a Pinched Nerve
When in the midst of something wonderful and unbelievable, we often ask someone to pinch us in order to prove we are not dreaming. Also, you know when shoes are tight when they pinch your feet.
Basically pinching of any kind gets your attention because it hurts. This is true of all types of pain in or on your body. If you have ever suffered from a pinched nerve, you know how painful it can be and you may find it beneficial to know how to treat it.
Definition of a Pinched Nerve
You may have heard the expression, or even said to someone else that they are getting “on your nerves.” By saying this, you are conveying a feeling of annoyance and discomfort.
This is not far from the truth because nerves are actually what deliver the communication that comes from the brain and spinal cord throughout your entire body. Nerves are one of the reasons we can walk, talk, and move as our brain transmits these signals continuously.
A pinched nerve is the popular name for a condition in which a nerve becomes compressed. The resulting pain can feel small, like a twinge, or great enough to cause incapacitation. It is caused by excessive stress or strain on the nerve.
There are many ways that a nerve can become compressed. It can be something simple like keeping your head turned in one direction for too long, or more involved, such as years of performing the same task during work or a favorite leisure activity.
Various parts of your body might be responsible for compressing a nerve, such as bones and tendons. When something goes wrong, these parts can squeeze or press on a nerve and cause pain. The culprit is sometimes tearing or corrupting of an area in the spine.
Since nerves originate near your spine, a pinched nerve that causes back pain is very common. However, as nerves affect your whole body, it can happen almost anywhere. In addition, because the nerves near your spine are close to the source, a pinched nerve in your neck may be felt in your extremities or joints.
Pinched nerves can also manifest themselves as other conditions such as tennis elbow or sciatica. The pain of a pinched nerve affects everyone in different ways. Some people may experience no pain at all while others only feel a bit numb.
Treatment for a Pinched Nerve
Sometimes, the pain from a pinched nerve is permanent. However, for most people, it will go away on its own in time, once you take a break from the activity that caused the pain in the first place.
For any kind of pain that does not disappear in a little while or produces debilitating pain that inhibits your normal lifestyle, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to diagnose the problem and avoid further injury. Ignoring the pain will not make it go away and, in the case of a pinched nerve, it could actually cause long-term impairment.
Your physician may simply advise you to take an over-the-counter pain reliever or perhaps prescribe something stronger such as steroids. Another potential treatment for a pinched nerve may include a brace to slightly restrict your motions and allow you to heal. Sometimes, rehabilitation is recommended, which can serve to loosen muscles and help to relieve pain.
As with many injuries, surgery is often considered as a last resort. For a pinched nerve, your physician may have to perform an operation in order to eliminate scar tissue or bone fragments.
Ways to Avoid Getting a Pinched Nerve
A famous quote says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, the best way to deal with the pain of a pinched nerve is not to get one at all. Although it may be impossible to avoid a pinched nerve throughout your entire life, there are a few steps you can take to decrease your risk of it occurring.
It turns out your parents were giving sound advice when they constantly reminded you not to slouch. A habit of bad posture may increase the potential for body tissue to compress nerves. Excess weight can have the same effect, so losing a few pounds would also be a good idea.
Certain types of arthritis can also lead to a pinched nerve. Inflammation of your joints could cause additional pressure on nearby nerves.
You may also help to prevent a pinched nerve by taking the proper precautions when playing sports, exercising, or engaging in a beloved pastime. Make sure you wear any equipment or padding devised to generate protection or ease pressure on various parts of your body. It is also important to remember to change positions periodically to prevent stiffness, and to stop and rest as often as possible when performing repetitive actions.
The good news is that, with care, the ache and hurt of a pinched nerve can be cured. After you end the affected movement or fix the underlying problem, a pinched nerve will be gone and you will be able to resume normal activities.