18 Sep How Do You Treat A Pinched Nerve In Your Neck?
What is a pinched nerve in the neck?
A pinched nerve in the neck is known in medicine as cervical radiculopathy. This means that one of the nerves exiting the spinal cord is being irritated or compressed by something. This will cause pain, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve travels to and supplies signals to (as the signals can’t reach their target and are disrupted by the nerve being pinched).
There a number of things that can cause cervical radiculopathy – the most common being old age arthritis (aka osteoarthritis) can cause inflammation in the area that irritates the nerve. In a younger person, the pain may be caused by a slipped disc (the discs that act as shock absorbers for the spinal column).
What symptoms will I experience with a pinched nerve?
In most patients there is a similar story of symptoms. These typically include the following:
- Tingling or pins and needles in your hands
- Weakness in muscles that are around the shoulder and arm
- Some patients can have reduced sensation over the shoulder area
- Most patients will have a pain that starts at the neck and travels down the arm in a typical and similar route each time. This is because each nerve supplies a certain territory of the arm and the nerve that is being compressed will only cause pain in the same place each time. The pain is typically described as sharp or burning and may be made worse by movement involving the neck (eg turning your head). Sometimes patients may notice the pain is reduced by putting their hands on their head. This is thought to reduce compression of the nerve and therefore ease the symptoms.
What treatments are available for a pinched nerve?
Most people will recover from their pain and get back to their normal day to day lives – however, sometimes treatment is needed to do so. As this is a commonly misdiagnosed condition it is important you get in contact with a specialist clinic to properly treat the condition. Good treatment can involve:
- A soft collar – often stopping you moving the neck is important to reduce the inflammation and stop the pinching. A soft neck collar can be worn which will hopefully reduce in the inflammation enough to be pain-free
- Physiotherapy – physiotherapists have a great selection of exercises to help strengthen muscles in the area that can improve your range of motion and reduce your pain
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen can help reduce the pain
- Corticosteroids can also help reduce the swelling and therefore pain
- Some patients may be offered a surgical treatment if the above treatments fail
If you or somebody you know is suffering from cervical radiculopathy – then get in contact with a specialist spine center. Many centers are available across the United States that can provide top quality treatment that is above and beyond what you can expect from a standard family practitioner. If your serious about your pain, get serious about its treatment.