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How To Fix A Pinched Nerve In The Neck – Causes, Symptoms, And Remedies

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How To Fix A Pinched Nerve In The Neck – Causes, Symptoms, And Remedies March 29, 2018

Whether you are looking over your shoulder for a parking space, simply getting up from your bed, or trying to pull a dress over your head – a pinched nerve can make even these basic tasks seem impossible. It’s quite likely that all those days of immobility and bad posture are getting back at you in this form. So, pull up your sleeves and get ready to combat this condition before it leads to any complications. Just take a quick look at the remedies listed in this article, and you can bid goodbye to the pinched nerve in your neck. Read on!

Table Of Contents

What Is A Pinched Nerve?
Signs And Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve
What Causes A Pinched Nerve In The Neck?
How To Fix A Pinched Nerve In The Neck
Preventive Tips
Best Sleeping And Sitting Positions For A Pinched Nerve In The Neck
When To Visit A Doctor

What Is A Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is the result of too much pressure applied by the surrounding bones, muscles, cartilage, or tendons on a nerve or group of nerves. This pressure causes the nerve to lose its function and might result in pain or numbness in the affected area.

Your nerves extend all the way from the brain to the spinal cord, sending important messages back and forth. A pinched or compressed nerve may produce signals in the form of pain, and such signs should not be ignored.

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Signs And Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve

Other than pain, a pinched or compressed nerve may also give rise to symptoms such as:

  • Numbness in the area
  • A sharp pain that radiates outwards
  • A tingling or pins and needles sensation
  • Weakened muscles in the affected area
  • A feeling of numb and sensationless hands or feet

These symptoms might worsen while you are asleep.

If you have a compressed nerve in your neck or arm, it may affect your elbows, hands, wrists, and even your fingers. This often leads to conditions like:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow

Let us now look at the causes of a pinched nerve.

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What Causes A Pinched Nerve In The Neck?

The pinched nerve in your neck could be due to the following:

  • An injury
  • Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Physical activities
  • Obesity

If your nerve is pinched or compressed only for a short time, it isn’t usually a cause for concern. But if it continues to be compressed for a long period, it may result in chronic pain and even result in a permanently damaged nerve.
The following conditions might increase your risk of experiencing a pinched nerve:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Bone spurs that occur as a result of trauma or other medical conditions
  • Sexual activity, which increases a woman’s risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, and this, in turn, increases the risk of getting a pinched nerve.

Hence, to avoid damaging your nerve permanently, it is important to attend to it immediately. And we have the best solutions to address this problem. Simply follow the methods given below to treat your pinched nerve at home.

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How To Fix A Pinched Nerve In The Neck

  1. Hot Or Cold Compress
  2. Massage With Warm Oil
  3. Essential Oils
  4. Ginger
  5. Vitamins
  6. Turmeric
  7. Epsom Salt
  8. Castor Oil
  9. Exercises
  10. Yoga
  11. Acupressure

1. Hot Or Cold Compress

Pinched Nerve - Hot Or Cold Compress

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You Will Need
  • Ice cubes
  • A clean washcloth
  • A sealable plastic bag
  • A hot compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Take some ice cubes and put them in a sealable plastic bag.
  2. Wrap the plastic bag in a clean washcloth and apply it to your neck.
  3. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat multiple times a day.
  4. Alternatively, you can also apply a hot compress to your neck.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this every hour or two until there is a notable decrease in your pain.

Why This Works

While a cold compress can help relieve the pain and inflammation, a hot compress can relax the muscles around the pinched nerve (1). It can also improve the blood circulation to your neck, thus aiding faster healing of the affected nerve.

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2. Massage With Warm Oil

Pinched Nerve - Massage With Warm Oil

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You Will Need

1/2 cup of coconut or mustard oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some coconut or mustard oil and warm it a little.
  2. Apply it to your neck and massage gently for 10 to 15 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least twice daily.

Why This Works

Massaging the affected area activates certain pressure points that help relax your muscles and increase blood supply to the neck. A warm oil massage can also reduce the pain, and hence, it is one of the best and most effective options for treating a pinched nerve in the neck (2).

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3. Essential Oils

a. Peppermint Oil

Pinched Nerve - Peppermint Oil

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of peppermint oil
  • Coconut or jojoba oil (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Take some drops of peppermint oil on your fingers and apply it to your neck.
  2. Massage for a few minutes until the oil is absorbed completely by your skin.
  3. If you have sensitive skin, you can mix the essential oil with any carrier oil before applying it.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Peppermint oil is widely used as a decongestant and also to relieve pain, given its wonderful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (3). It is also antispasmodic and can help in relaxing the muscles. These properties of peppermint oil can help in the treatment of the pinched nerve in your neck.

b. Lavender Oil

Pinched Nerve - Lavender Oil

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of lavender oil
  • Coconut or olive oil (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a few drops of lavender oil and apply it directly to the affected area.
  2. If you have sensitive skin, mix the essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
  3. Massage gently for 2 to 3 minutes until your skin absorbs the oil completely.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

While the pleasant aroma of lavender oil improves your sleep and helps you get ample amounts of rest, its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the pain and inflammation that are caused due to a pinched nerve (4), (5).

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[ Read: 20 Best Benefits Of Lavender Oil For Skin, Hair And Health ]

4. Ginger

Pinched Nerve - Ginger

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You Will Need
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add an inch of ginger to a cup of hot water.
  2. Allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and add a little honey to the ginger tea.
  4. Consume it before it turns cold.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink ginger tea 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Ginger is an herb that is quite popular for its pain-relieving properties (6). It possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help relieve chronic pain and inflammation that occur due to the pinched nerve (7).

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5. Vitamins

Pinched Nerve - Vitamins

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A deficiency in vitamins B6, B12, C, and E may increase your chance of developing a pinched nerve. Hence, it is important to get the required dose of these vitamins every day to aid faster healing. Increase your intake of these vitamins by consuming foods rich in them like citrus fruits, green vegetables, almonds, avocados, seafood, and poultry. All these vitamins have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help lessen the pain (8), (9), (10), (11).

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6. Turmeric

Pinched Nerve - Turmeric

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of milk
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot milk and stir well.
  2. Allow it to cool a little and add some honey to it.
  3. Drink this mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink turmeric milk 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The curcumin in turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and healing properties that can help treat the pinched nerve (12), (13).

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7. Epsom Salt

Pinched Nerve - Epsom Salt

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Bathwater
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bathwater.
  2. Soak in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes and relax.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week for effective results.

Why This Works

Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is widely used to treat pain and inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties (14). An Epsom salt bath can help your skin absorb more magnesium and relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation caused by the pinched nerve in your neck (15).

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[ Read: How To Use Bath Salts? ]

8. Castor Oil

Pinched Nerve - Castor Oil

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You Will Need
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon of castor oil
  • A warm compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Take sufficient amount of castor oil in your hands and apply it to the affected area.
  2. Gently massage the neck for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Apply a warm compress to the area and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a day until your pain begins to subside.

Why This Works

Castor oil is well-known for its potential anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties. This is mainly due to the presence of ricinoleic acid in it. Therefore, a quick massage or application of a castor oil pack is one of your best bets to deal with pinched nerves (16).

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9. Exercises

Pinched Nerve - Exercises

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What You Have To Do
  1. Gently rotate your neck in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions.
  2. You can also move your neck back and forth and side to side to relax the nerve muscles in your neck.
Repetitions

15 to 20

How They Help

Doing a few stretches is all it takes to relax the stiff muscles in the neck and relieve the pain that a pinched nerve causes (17).

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10. Yoga

Pinched Nerve - Yoga

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What You Have To Do

Practise yoga poses like the Cobra Pose, Extended Side Angle Pose, Fish Pose, and Downward Dog Pose.

Duration

Hold each pose for 10 to 15 seconds.

Why This Works

Yoga can help stretch the muscles in the neck, thereby inducing relaxation and speeding up the healing process of the pinched nerve. It also improves blood supply to the affected nerve, thus aiding its recovery (18).

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[ Read: 15 Simple Tips For Practicing Yoga At Home ]

11. Acupressure

Pinched Nerve - Acupressure

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You might also want to consider acupressure to help treat the pinched nerve in your neck, which involves applying pressure to certain points in your body. It not only relieves pain but might also help the nerve regain its lost function (19).

Once you have successfully treated the pinched nerve in your neck using the remedies described above, you can take the following precautions to avoid its recurrence.

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Preventive Tips

  • Maintain good body posture.
  • Avoid staying in one position for a long time.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and follow a healthy diet.

You also need to follow these sitting and sleeping positions to speed up your recovery.

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Best Sleeping And Sitting Positions For A Pinched Nerve In The Neck

  • Keep pillows under your neck and knees to keep your backbone as straight as possible.
  • A proper sitting position can also take a lot of pressure off your back. Sit on chairs that support your back. Avoid sitting for too long and take frequent breaks if you are required to sit at a stretch.

Try these remedies and methods to reduce the swelling and pain. However, if your problem persists, you need to consult a doctor immediately.

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When To Visit A Doctor

You need to visit a doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • Persistent and unbearable pain despite treatment
  • Acute focal weakness (when one of your legs is unable to carry your weight)
  • A profound loss of sensation in any of your body parts
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

A pinched nerve in the neck is quite common, and many people experience it at some point in their lives. You can avoid the condition if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, have vitamin-rich foods, don’t overwork your muscles, and maintain good body posture. Follow the remedies and tips mentioned in this article and let us know how they worked for you.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long does a pinched nerve take to heal?

A pinched nerve may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to heal completely.

Can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?

Chiropractic treatments usually help in taking pressure off the pinched nerve, which, in turn, provides relief from the painful symptoms.

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