Understanding Pinched Nerve in the Neck
First of all, when we are talking about this condition, it is necessary for us to know what a pinched nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy) is. Simply, if a nerve or set of nerves are experiencing too much pressure which comes from some tissues just like muscles and bones around them, this may lead to this problem. Medically, it is a term for the nerve’s pain or disruption as suffering from a lot of compression. A pinched nerve happens to several sites of our body, such as the neck, shoulder, low or upper back, leg and even elbow, it can generally cause your body to develop some symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling and weakness since your nerves can perhaps be pinched, inflamed or being not able to perform effectively for some certain problem of blood flow.
Secondly, coming to our topic, it is very common for people to encounter this condition in the neck and almost each person can suffer this complaint at some time in their life. As we known, pain is always the most obvious symptoms for patients. In general, it can be determined simply for such pain signs, however, there are also a few more complicated conditions which is to recognize in difficulty, in particular the pain with other really common accompanying symptoms. Here we should understand the causes and read more as below:
Typically, there are two main types of reasons. One is the condition due to trauma, such as a neck injury caused by a car accident or sports activities, occasionally cancerous growths may be also the potential factor.
The other one is coming from some degenerative reasons such as neck arthritis and bone spurs and as well spinal stenosis, a herniated disc is the most common disc material’s degeneration which can result in pinching to your neck. It can cause the spine to protrude so that it can cause abnormal deterioration if continuing as time passes, then your nerve can be put under the excessive pressure, thus it can bring about pain, sometimes it can even result in chronic pain while the pressure persists. In some case, your nerve pinching may not be a result of something related to the disc, muscles or tendons can be the majority of reason.
Besides, there are also a few conditions which can lead to compression of a nerve. The most common one among these conditions is to keep your posture for an extended time, for instance, maintaining both elbows bent whenever you’re sleeping. Obesity can be another normal factor that will cause you to compress nerve. In addition, for those people who are working on some repetitive job or activities, the stress from their work may also lead to nerve compression occasionally.
Most of people will ignore it if they feel the neck pain while awakening, certainly, it is the same thing for us usually that we just deal with it as a simple pulled or strained muscle. However, if your neck pain continue on then proceed down your arm to the fingers, it could possibly be a pinched nerve symptom in some cases.
Here we list some other typical signs as below:
1. Firstly, you may encounter a burning or sharp pain, which may radiate in some circumstances outward and down from your neck to other affected parts of your body such as arm and wrist.
2. When you are coughing or sneezing, it may raise the sensation of pain. Moreover, you may also have a sensation like pins and needles.
3. There is also a feeling of “falling asleep” in your hands or feet in most time.
4. Sometimes you will feel that your muscles at the affect area(neck) get weakened or even twitching. Besides, this may occur in your shoulders or arms. Also there is a sensation of numbness on your neck and other area which the nerve travels.
5. The symptoms can get much worse while you are sleeping.
Here are the regular symptoms linked to the nerve root associated with a pinched nerve:
1. If it affects your C5 nerve root which is said to occur in C4-C5 disc, the deltoid muscles in your upper arm may suffer weakness. Your side of upper arm and shoulder may also experience the pain, but tingling or numbness may not appear normally if only your C5 nerve is pinched.
2. If your C6 nerve root is compressed, your wrist extensor muscles and biceps may generally feel weak. Furthermore, you will also experience tingling and numbness sensation accompanied with pain which can go all the way to your thumb and index finger.
3. You may feel weak in your triceps and finger extensor muscles when your C7 nerve root is influenced. And it will induce same symptoms as pinched C6 nerve root, these feeling will radiate down to your middle finger.
4. The pinched C8 nerve root can get your handgrip weakened, besides tingling and numbness, it will radiate pain down to the ring and little fingers. In addition, you may continue to experience increased pain and weakness with time.
In summary, although sometimes it may only be temporary pain which can be treated by self-care for a short time, it can also be the symptoms of some severe health conditions just like degenerative disc disease, so consult your doctor about the neck pain if the signs and symptoms of a nerve compression persist for a few days.
It can be unbearable when people are suffering from the pain as a result of pinched nerve, so most of patients have been seeking the best treatment. In some case, the symptoms of pain can be treated on its own way by some home remedies, especially in the initial phase of this condition. But if it lasts you should do make a scheduled appointment and go to see the physician for diagnosis. If you want to relive the pain temporarily through some alternative treatments at home, some tips may do work as below:
1. Ice is the first option for you to relieve the symptoms. It can help lower inflammation and pain when you apply ice packs over the affected sites in the initial 24-72 hours. You can utilize it for less than 20 minutes per 2 hours by wrapping it in the towel. In addition, be sure not to use the ice to your skin directly and avoid heat in the initial 72 hours.
2. There are also various medications which can help to lessen the inflammation on a temporary basis. It is recommended by Mayo Clinic that some NSAIDs are helpful for you to ease the pain, these anti-inflammatory medications include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Advil or Aleve which contains ibuprofen will work well for reducing the swelling. On the other hand, we know that a pinched nerve in the neck is exacerbated by muscle strain, so some muscle-relaxing medication can be normally used in the treatment for reducing the inflammation and pain.
3. You can also go for a qualified massage to release the muscle, a good massage by a professional masseur can not only ease the ache and tension, but also can ease your compressed muscles. It does work great if your pinched nerve results from a muscle spasm.
4. Exercise of stretching muscles can also help to alleviate the nerve pressure in overall, but you should talk to your doctor to be sure if you can do exercise. Yoga is also a good relaxation way, ensure that you take it slow if you are new to yoga. And here is a video about exercises for neck pain due to the pinched nerve:
5. Apply heat on your nerve after inflammation has been decreased. Like other traumas, heat can be applied to inspire the circulation of blood in order to help the process of recovery. You can use it easily with a warm towel or packs. One point you should be noted is to remember to heat below 20 min each time.
6. Choose a diet plan. Eat less on the inflammatory foods which are which include bread, sugar, papaya and blueberries. Rest is also useful for easing symptoms from nerve compression in the neck, especially for those who are doing the job composed of repeated activities. Just have a rest to let your muscles rest a bit.
7. Acupuncture is also a good method for the pain relief, the purpose of which is to release the blocked energy in your body so that it can help to eliminate the pain and tension successfully. Keep in mind that you should only go to a professional acupuncture with an identification.
8. Inversion therapy may temporarily decrease the nerve pain in your neck, but reported by Mayo, inversion tables may increase the risk of several health problems such as stroke plus some heart diseases.
9. Ultrasound and electrical stimulation are also the common treatments as well.
10. If all types of treatment don’t work, surgery may be required.