Struggling With A Pinched Nerve In Your Neck?
Nerve irritation is common when it comes to neck pain. The two common diagnoses are radiculopathy and entrapment when it comes to a pinched nerve. This pain is often felt as burning, tingling, numbness, stinging, or electric and can affect a person’s day to day life. This can result in missing work, a decrease in activity, or avoidance of activities you enjoy. Recovery can be a challenge as nerves take longer than other structures to heal. All hope is not lost and treatment can begin with 3 simple steps from the guidelines for neck pain treatment (JOSPT 2017).
When people are in pain it can be difficult to know how much is too much. Often times we avoid pain for too long which limits recovery. When it comes to nerve pain it is fine to have an increase in pain for 15 to 30 minutes after an activity. Pain that lingers longer may not cause harm but conservative recovery should include the 15-30 minute rule. This will help your body understand that is not in danger from the activity as well as decrease the nerve sensitivity and help you recover faster in the long run.
Nerves like movement to recover. A pinched nerve is no exception. The general rule is nerve pain that is new, less than 4 to 6 weeks old, likes to move without tension. These are called nerve glides which are thought to reduce inflammation and pain while improving how the nerve moves. Pain that is more than 6 weeks old, or chronic, and due to the nerve not wanting to move tend to respond better to stretch of the nerve. This treatment is called a nerve tensioner. Both interventions should follow step one which helps the body feel better over time.
After the first few weeks a nerve wants you to increase your activity to feel better. This means you will return to all your usual activities but it may be gradual. For people with neck pain who go to an emergency room for their pain the sooner they get back to their activities the sooner they feel better. It is healthy and helps you recover to ease back into the things you avoid due to your pain. This includes work, the gym, and any other activity you do. Exercise is good but recovery takes time. Winning the first 100 yards does not help you win the marathon and may set you back.
If you follow the simple steps above and continue to struggle with your pinched nerve you should seek out additional help. Physical therapy has excellent research supporting recovery from pinched nerves. At Ascend Orthopaedics our focus is on providing you the tools you need to feel better. This includes the steps above but also includes the individualized focus that prolonged neck pain requires. If you live in the Philadelphia area schedule your initial session with us online today.