Nerves need space to send signals and function properly. Should a nerve become obstructed or irritated, you may notice pain either directly within the affected area or somewhere along the nerve’s pathway. A common example is when a “pinched” or compressed nerve around the lower back causes radiating pain felt in the thighs, buttocks, or legs. If you’re currently living with this type of discomfort, here are some home remedies that might help you enjoy welcome relief.
Irritated nerves are sometimes relieved if you adjust your posture while sitting and standing. Ideally, you should keep your spine in a neutral position. If you need some help accomplishing this goal, try using neck rests and lumbar support cushions. Also, the following ergonomic aids could improve your posture at work:
• A mouse and keyboard that take excess pressure off your wrists
• A chair that conforms to your spine’s natural curve
• A desk that can be adjusted so your knees and thighs fit comfortably underneath
• A workstation that adjusts from a sitting to a standing position
Pinched nerves are sometimes healed by the body’s own natural processes. This type of healing occurs during the deeper stages of sleep. You can increase your odds of benefiting from the healing and recuperative powers of sleep by:
• Getting 7–8 hours of high-quality sleep each night
• Sleeping in a spine-neutral position
• Investing in a supportive mattress
Pinched nerves are sometimes soothed if you gently stretch the soft tissues around them. From basic yoga stretches to gentle water-based activities, there are many ways you can stimulate your spine and your various joints and muscles so they don’t irritate nearby nerves. Stop any stretch if you feel sudden pain, and see your doctor or Santa Monica spine surgeon if it gets worse or doesn’t go away.
Inflammation is a common source of nerve irritation. Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are designed to ease tissue swelling. Such meds may take enough pressure off the affected nerves to allow them to heal.
Soft tissue tension sometimes contributes to the pain associated with pinched nerves. One way to relieve this type of discomfort is by massaging the affected area. What this sometimes does is relax both muscles and nerves.
Excess weight contributes to a wide range of orthopedic problems, including pinched nerves, osteoarthritis, and increased joint and spinal disc wear. You won’t lose weight overnight, but adjustments to your diet and exercise habits could help you lose enough weight to take pressure off certain nerves.
Ice can ease nerve irritation by treating localized inflammation. Heat increases circulation and facilitates the body’s natural healing process. For safety reasons, limit applications to 15–20 minutes at a time. Also, avoid direct skin contact with ice or a heating pad. Warm baths can provide similar benefits.
Home remedies like the ones discussed here aren’t always effective, especially if a pinched nerve is irritated by a spinal abnormality or an obstruction such as bone spurs or a severely herniated (“bulging”) disc. Sometimes these issues won’t go away without surgery to fix the problem or create more nerve space, which is done through a procedure called a foraminotomy. Santa Monica patients should seek medical assistance right away if a pinched nerve is causing sudden paralysis, numbness and tingling in the lower body, or bladder and/or bowel issues.
If you try these methods at home and still don’t feel relief, call The Spine Institute today for an appointment with one of our pioneering physicians, who will be able to make a personalized diagnosis and devise a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule your in-person consultation.