Self-help pinched nerve treatments include taking a hot bath or shower and alternating hot and cold packs on the affected area. Because a pinched nerve may be a secondary condition caused by an injury or abnormality, it's important that you keep track of when the pain began and what you were doing at the time. If you are experiencing a pinched nerve or pinched nerve symptoms due to some sort of muscle strain or spasm, relaxing the muscle may be your first line of treatment.
How Bad Does It Hurt?
To discover the extent of the pain, conduct a full range-of-motion test. Do not force the motion or continue a motion if it hurts to do so, but do take note of where it hurts and what you are doing that causes the pain. Keeping a notebook is the best way to keep on top of the problem. Jot down not only where it hurts but what motions cause more pain and what relieves the pain. A diary can be very helpful to you, as well as to a physician should you end up needing medical treatment.
Alternate Heat and Cold
To relax the muscle strain or spasm, a hot bath or shower is in order. If that does not relieve the symptoms, try applying heat for 20 minutes, and then ice for 20 minutes. To avoid further injury, wrap the hot water or ice bottle in a towel before applying it to the skin. Alternate the hot and cold treatment for several hours at a time. This pinched nerve treatment may need to be continued for several days or weeks before relief is found.
Don't Add Additional Strain
Pinched nerves are often caused by repetitive motion; sciatica, or pinched nerves in the base of the spine, can be caused by excessive lifting or twisting. Pain and numbness in the hands and arms is often a result of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, caused by excessive typing.
In these cases, continuing the activity that caused the pinched nerve will only make things worse. It's best to avoid repetitive motions, heavy lifting or anything else that will strain your muscles if you have a pinched nerve. Give yourself some time to rest and the problem may correct itself. If that's not an option, use a brace to support the affected area and to restrict movement, so that your muscles aren't straining as much.
Massage the Area
If the pain is in the back side of your body, such as the neck, back, buttocks, hamstrings or calf areas, you may find relief by placing a rolled-up towel beneath your neck while in a reclined position. If you are able to reach the painful spot yourself, a handheld massaging device can help you find relief. If you cannot reach the painful area by yourself, a professional masseuse can do the job for you.
Remember that a pinched nerve is usually very sensitive to touch and may burn at first when it is massaged. Patience is required. After a few minutes of massage, the pinched nerve usually relaxes and the pain goes away. While the relief may be temporary, you are on the right track.
Contact a Physician
In no way should you assume that a pinched nerve is not a serious issue. While some pinched nerves can be relieved on your own, some do require surgery. A pinched nerve could also be masking an underlying problem that could be more serious. If the pain is strong and interferes with your daily life, make an appointment with a doctor to have it evaluated.
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