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  • Dr. Mark Freund

How To Treat A Pinched Nerve in The Neck

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

patient suffering from neck pain

A trapped nerve in the cervical spine can cause a stiff neck and can also affect the shoulders and arms. The trapped nerve is a nerve injury in the neck that can occur at any time of the day. When nerves are trapped, the surrounding tissue can push against the nerve roots and pinch or push the structure of your neck out of alignment.

What Is A Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is a compressed nerve. Nerves in the spine and other parts of the body can be compressed by the surrounding tissue, causing pain and numbness or tingling.

Causes and Symptoms

Most trapped nerves develop into herniated discs that slip between the vertebrae and the spinal cord. When the nerves in the spine are pressed, the pain can go down to the legs. A herniated disc can pinpoint the nerve root, but a pinched nerve requires professional treatment. Both can occur simultaneously and can cause pain in the neck. The pain could be due to the hernia itself. Pinched nerves can also be the result of other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke. In addition, a pinched nerve can also occur in the hands, elbows, or wrists and is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Pinched nerves can also affect the lower back, which is also called a pinched lumbar nerve, and it can cause pain in your back, hips, buttocks, and legs. When a pinched nerve affects the chest area, Thoracic radiculopathy causes pain in that area. If you have severe chest pain, even if it is only for a short time, call a doctor immediately.


Neck pain due to a pinched nerve

Pinched nerves can be painful, but they can usually be treated with rest, over-the-counter medication, and physical therapy. Nerves that occasionally tweak are usually treatable at home. A tight nerve can loosen and cause pain, but not enough pain to cause permanent damage to the body. Most people can recover completely from a pinched nerve within days to weeks. But sometimes, damage can also be irreversible and might require immediate professional care.


You may find that simply resting the injured area and avoiding activities that exacerbate the symptoms benefits you. In many cases, this is all you need to do, but in some cases, it may not be enough. Time spent at rest or at home relieves most cases of nerve pain, and when it does not, other forms of treatment may help.

Rest until the symptoms have completely resolved and no longer cause any pain or discomfort. When you start moving parts of your body again, be careful how you feel and stop all activities if pain persists or returns. Remember that pinched nerves can be avoided by not overstraining the muscles with too much pressure or too little pressure on the nerves in the neck.


Gentle stretching can help reduce pressure on the nerve and ease symptoms, and this is especially helpful if your neck wrist is not in a bad position while you sleep. It will relax the nerve, loosen tense muscles and reduce pain. It is also important to fix your position or find a position that helps you feel better, which can entail having to move to a sitting or standing position to relieve the pain from the pinched nerve, so find what works best for you. Your physiotherapist can also teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to reduce the pressure on this nerve. Besides stretching, you can also perform other treatments for trapped nerves.


When the intervertebral discs, which serve as the shock absorbers in the neck, are under pressure, they can cause pain and swelling. Like the shock absorbers in the car, they can be overwhelmed by hard blows, and when they are damaged and cannot contain normal compressive forces, the discs tend to bulge and herniate. A splint with a soft collar allows short periods of rest for the muscles and helps to stretch and strengthen them. Depending on the position of the trapped nerve, you may need a splint or brace to stabilize the region. If you have a carpal tunnel or have nerves trapped in your wrist that leads to pain in the shoulder and neck, a splint helps protect it and also helps you rest.

Heat Therapy

heat therapy for neck pain

Heating pads of various sizes are available in drugstores. The heat keeps the trapped nerves trapped for 10-15 minutes. Heat increases blood flow, which can aid the healing process. Small movements can have a big effect, and heat can be used to relax muscles that may be tensed due to the pinched nerve. The treatment can also be used in conjunction with other treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and manual therapy for pain relief and recovery.

Decompression Therapy

Decompression therapy for the spine is a very effective method of treating herniated discs and pinched nerves. Decompression of the spinal cord can help relieve the bulging intervertebral disc and the trapped nerve in the neck. The herniated disc itself comes into contact with a nearby spinal cord nerve. The classic cause of a trapped nerve is a ruptured nerve in the spinal cord, such as that in the neck or lower back. To release the nerve, you need to reduce the pressure on the intervertebral disc or simply decompress it.

If you apply a lot of downward force to the disc, the compression will become a dent. If you do the opposite by pulling on your intervertebral disc, the pressure on it decreases, and there is an intrusion of bulging material and a relief of the nerve. This is called centralization.

treating neck nerve pain

Centralization is when pressure is taken off the nerves; the pain starts moving back to the neck or the starting point. It is, therefore, important to remember that nerve pain slowly returns to its starting point.

When to See A Chiropractor

Treatment aims to reduce the swollen tissue that’s causing the nerve pain, and if the pain is severe, you should see your chiropractor or general practitioner immediately. Severe cases may require removal of the material that is pressing the nerve, such as the disc material, scar tissue, or parts of the bone. You should see your chiropractor if you have a pinched nerve that is affecting your grasp and muscle control, affecting your bladder, or causing your limb to weaken entirely.

The duration of the symptoms, as well as how quickly they go away, may vary differently for different people. Treatment may also vary depending on how severe it is as well as the cause of the nerve compression. If the pain, tingling, or numbness does not resolve, or If your pain is severe, constant, and recurrent, it is important to see a chiropractor or a doctor.

Your chiropractor will ask you many questions about your lifestyle and perform tests to determine what causes the pinched nerve. He or she may suggest electroshock therapy or ECG imaging (x-ray) to determine exactly where the nerve is trapped. Your doctor can also prescribe physical therapy that can help alleviate your symptoms. It is very important to stop any treatment at home if it seems to harm you or worsen your condition. If numbness or tingling sensations occur that do not resolve or get worse, you should immediately consult a chiropractor, doctor, or physiotherapist. Contact your local chiropractor today at Natural Care Chiropractic.


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