A nerve becomes “pinched” or compressed when some type of nearby structure gets too close for comfort. The resulting pressure prevents the affected nerve from functioning properly, which could contribute to reduced sensitivity in the affected area, pain that extends (radiates) to nearby areas such as arms, shoulders, or thighs, numbness and tingling sensations, and pins-and-needles sensations (paresthesia). While everybody responds differently to treatments for a pinched nerve, ranging from simple rest to a surgical procedure such as a lumbar foraminotomy, Los Angeles patients may find relief with these remedies anyone can try at home.
Work on Your Posture
Poor posture is a common cause of pinched nerves. Habitually slouching and leaning forward or off to one side or the other puts your body into unnatural positions that can irritate nerves. A simple way to correct this problem is to take steps to improve your posture by:
- Keeping your computer/laptop at eye level
- Using neck or lumbar support cushions
- Doing posture-correction exercises
- Making sure your head, neck, and shoulders are aligned
- Sitting up straight and shifting your position periodically
Get Better/More Sleep
Your body naturally heals itself during the deeper, recuperative stages of sleep. This healing can extend to nerves that are mildly “pinched” or irritated. Improve your body’s recovery abilities by sticking to a regular sleep schedule and sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress.
Use Over-the-Counter Medications as Needed
Inflammation often affects pinched nerves. Therefore, you might feel better once tissue swelling subsides. One way to achieve this goal is by using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.
Another way to reduce inflammation around nerves that are compressed or irritated is by placing an ice pack on the affected area, but only do this for about 15–20 minutes at a time. Intermittent heat applications help by increasing circulation, delivering more beneficial nutrients to the affected area and facilitating the healing process.
Massage Your Discomfort Away
Massaging the area that’s affected can relax soft tissues that may be contributing to nerve compression. As tension goes away, your symptoms might do the same thing. You can relieve your tension through massage by learning self-massage techniques or treating yourself to a therapeutic massage.
Use Ergonomic Aids
Ergonomic aids are designed to create optimal positions for various parts of the body. For instance, ergonomically designed office chairs fit the natural curve of the spine while sitting. Muscle/soft tissue strain affecting nerves could also be reduced with the following ergonomic aids:
- An ergonomic mouse and keyboard that protect your wrists
- An ergonomically designed workstation that allows your computer/monitor to be adjusted so it’s at eye level
- Adjustable task chairs so you can easily change your position throughout your day
- Supportive wrist rests and footrests
- Adjustable sit–stand workstations
You may be able to reduce your odds of being sidelined by a pinched nerve if you shed excess pounds, eat nutrient-rich foods, exercise regularity, pay attention to how you sit, stand, and sleep, and make an effort to manage underlying conditions such as arthritis that can affect bones and joints enough to irritate nearby nerves. If you do experience symptoms suggesting you have a pinched nerve, see a Los Angeles spine surgeon if the home remedies discussed here aren’t easing your discomfort.
If these methods don’t relieve the pain you’re feeling from a pinched nerve, make an appointment today with the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute, who will be able to make a personalized diagnosis and devise a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain. Our physicians are industry pioneers in every aspect of neck and back health. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.