Having a pinched nerve isn’t something that most people realize they have when experiencing pain in a certain area of their body.
That’s because the symptoms are the same as chronic pain or a strained muscle and many tend to blame it on exhaustion, lack of rest, lack of movement, not realizing that they are probably experiencing a pinched nerve, not the regular back pain.
But there’s one major thing a pinched nerve and chronic back pain has in common – the pain is definitely excruciating.
A pinched nerve can be caused by multiple things such as injuries, chronic conditions or irregular movements, but it can also be treated in multiple ways.
The main thing is to do something about it because if it’s left untreated it can leave permanent damage to the area and go as far as disabling someone permanently and take their freedom of movement.
To understand better the causes, symptoms, and remedies for a pinched nerve, continue reading below.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is a common pain many experience during the course of their life.
It happens when the surrounding tissues of a nerve (such as bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons) put too much pressure on a nerve which causes a certain reaction that can range from minor tingling and numbness to weakness and pain in the area where the nerve is pressured.
While a pinched nerve can happen in any part of the body, the most vulnerable nerves are those that pass through narrow places and the ones that don’t have a soft tissue around them for protection.
These are mostly the nerves in your back (spine), shoulders and legs, which are the most frequent sufferers of a pinched nerve.
Pinched Nerve Symptoms
The severity and range of symptoms can range from one person to another, but mostly revolve around the following:
- muscle weakness
If you have a pinched nerve, these symptoms can worsen if you’re laying down for a longer period (i.e. when sleeping or resting).
Other symptoms can include a stinging pain in some area of the back, needles or general discomfort in the area of the pinched nerve.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
As we previously mentioned, pinched nerves are a result of some tissue pressing on the nerve.
Most commonly, this pressure is caused by lack of motion or repetitive motion that creates a pressure in the area of the nerve, which causes the nerve to become inflamed and overtime irritated and finally, damaged and painful.
There are some conditions that put people in the higher risk group of experiencing pain caused by a pinched group, such as:
- Being overweight
- Gender (women are more prone to experiencing a pinched nerve)
- Repetitive strenuous activities
There are many factors that can have a major influence on your nerve health, but it can also be caused by an injury, straining or spraining, irregular movements and many other things.
All in all, it’s a rather unpredictable thing that you can’t see coming, but can work towards reducing the risk of getting it.
Pinched Nerve in Lower Back
Pinched Nerve in Back Symptoms
A pinched nerve in the lower back is most often caused by the spinal discs putting pressure on some of the nerves that go through the spinal cord.
It can also be caused by an inflamed spinal root that exits the spine.
The most common cause of a pinched nerve is a degenerative spine which happens mostly because of age and the additional pressure caused by the stress placed on it for everyday movement and body weight, which results in:
- The discs that cushion the spine became brittle and rupture
- The facet joints that hinge the vertebrae became arthritic
- You developed bone spurs
- The vertebrae became misaligned
The common symptoms of a pinched nerve in the back are more or less same as the other types of pinched nerves, with the fact that, of course, the sensations are felt in the lower back area.
- muscle weakness
- weakness in the leg
Pinched Nerve in Back Treatment
11 Home remedies for a pinched nerve
There are thousands of medications intended to eliminate the pain caused by a pinched nerve, but they can cost up to a hundred dollars for just one bottle. There are other methods that promise to do wonders in a few minutes, which result in nothing more than you wasting your precious time and money.
Instead of visiting these expensive massages, taking harmful medications or going under dangerous surgeries, you can try to do some things at home that could help you ease the pain and solve your pinched nerve issue.
Stretching for a few minutes every day can relieve any pressure on your nerve and alleviate the pain you feel caused by the pressure on the nerve.
And not only that, but it will also help prevent the appearance of a pinched nerve.
Do note that you don’t need to do overly hard stretches. Some simple ones do the trick, so if you start feeling pain while stretching in any area, ease up on the stretch and do something easier.
Once you’ve got into it, you can enhance the exercises to strengthen your muscles, after a consultation with a physician, of course.
A great idea would be to start doing yoga because many of the yoga poses help strengthen your muscles and relax the area around the nerves.
This will further reduce the risk of you getting a pinched nerve at any point in your life.
Adjust your posture
Bad posture is a major cause of many back problems, including pinched nerves. Your neck supports the weight of your head, and if you’re holding it in a position that strains its function and pressures it, your nerves will get pressed on and get pinched.
Correcting your posture and sitting straight up loosens your spinal discs, allowing the nerves to function properly, without being strained or pressured too much.
Holding a right posture is perfect for both preventing and fixing nerve problems.
One thing you can do is to hold your head straight so its weight can be distributed evenly throughout your spine.
Another thing is if you’re working on a pc, or have a job where you have to lean your head forward, to ask if it’s possible to have an adjustment to your workplace so you can avoid bending your head.
And finally, avoid sleeping on your stomach because by sleeping like that, you put unnecessary strain on your head.
Most of our body’s injuries are solved by resting.
Many sports or strenuous activities like tennis, football, hockey, and baseball can cause the pinched nerve, so avoiding these and resting as much as possible is the best course of action.
That is until the symptoms start disappearing and you’re able to move the part of your body that was previously aching.
Make sure that while you’re resting, you’re in a comfortable position and have an ergonomic bed and pillow that support your body in a healthy way.
The most common go-to remedy for a pinched nerve is the good old ice.
It’s well known to people as an effective cure for swelling and inflammation, making it perfect to use to reduce any of these in the area of the pinched nerve.
You can wrap a towel around an ice pack and place it on the area of the pinched nerve, holding it with gentle pressure for around 15 minutes a few times during the day.
Elevate your legs
If you have a pinched nerve in the area of your lower back, elevating your legs with a 90-degree bend in the hips and knees can help alleviate the pain.
This will reduce the tension in your spine and help it
I know that it might be confusing that we list both ice and heat as treatments for a pinched nerve, but both are equally good to relax the area and minimize pain.
As previously mentioned, the pain from your pinched nerve might be caused by some muscle pressuring on it.
If you believe this is the case with your pain, you can apply heat on the area to relax the muscle around your painful nerve.
It will not only loosen up the spot but will also promote blood flow to the area, helping it heal faster.
Besides using a pre-purchased heating pad, you can make your own heat pad at home (a bottle filled with warm liquid or a heated cloth) and use it for 10 to 15 minutes 2 or 3 times a day.
Sleeping is the best way to allow your body to heal itself.
When you’re sleeping, every cell in your body regenerates, making you healthier and stronger.
This also includes the nerves that go through your whole body that need to rest after working hard throughout the day.
If you’re experiencing a pinched nerve, make sure to sleep for a minimum of 8 hours a day to allow your body to fully recover.
It will help your body fight off any inflammation of pain more easily and make it stronger for all day to day functions.
You can sleep with a neck brace that will hold your neck in place and minimize the unnecessary movements.
And as I mentioned before, avoid sleeping on your stomach because it puts additional pressure on your neck and back.
Gently massaging the painful spot and around it will help your muscles and cartilage relax, relieving the pressure they put on the nerve, thus easing your pain and discomfort.
But, if the spot is too sensitive, wait for it to calm a bit and then try massaging it.
Avoid deep tissue massages, because these might put additional pressure on the already pinched nerve, making your situation even worse than before.
Change your pillow and mattress
Believe it or not, your pillow and mattress can be the cause of the pressure in your spine.
If they aren’t ergonomic and don’t support your body in the right way, your nerves will be pressed upon during your sleep, causing you to wake up with discomfort and pain.
Having the right sleeping posture lets your body’s muscles and bones relax and go back to their right position, minimizing the possibility of them pressuring a nerve and causing any pain during your sleep.
Consume food rich with Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to help with inflammation, but in recent studies, it has shown pain-relieving effects as well.
The most common source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil, but it can also be found in everyday foods such as nuts, seeds, seafood, oils made from plants (flax, soy, canola, etc.).
You can implement these ingredients in your food more often if you’re experiencing pain from a pinched nerve to reduce the inflamed spot and pain.
Change your lifestyle
Even if you don’t notice it, many of your lifestyle choices have a major impact on your overall health.
For example, being overweight leads to more pressure being placed on your lower back which can lead to your bones pressing on the nerves, creating a pinched nerve which will cause you pain.
Lack of exercise is another big factor in rapidly deteriorating spine health. By being inactive, your muscles and bones are losing their strength, so when they start their regular function, they’re pressuring your nerves, causing them to get irritated, inflamed and painful.
When to See a Doctor
Pain caused by a pinched nerve usually goes away with time or can be treated with simple home remedies.
But, if the pain persists and doesn’t reduce in a few days, then you should contact a doctor.
Even if it seems like a pinched nerve, the pain might be caused by something more severe that requires professional treatment and medications.
Another reason to contact a doctor is if the pain keeps increasing despite treating the area.
If you’ve tried all the traditional healing methods and nothing seems to be working, but your pain keeps dragging on and even increasing, then the case is definitely something else than a pinched nerve, which requires a doctor looking into it.
And finally, the most important situation that requires medical attention is if you start feeling a lack of sensation in your back or leg or focal weakness (inability to hold your weight).
These are usually symptoms of something more severe that requires medical attention.
My Back Pain Relief 4 Life
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The damage caused by a pinched nerve is usually temporary, but it can be long-lasting.
To avoid this, proper measures should be taken not only to heal it but also prevent it from happening.
The best thing you can do is stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re the busy bee that rarely finds time for their health, the home remedies and the program I recommended will be the ideal thing to fight away back pain and remain as healthy as possible.
But keep in mind to track the way your body reacts to everything you do. If you start experiencing more pain or want to start with physical therapy, first consult your doctor.
Having a professional advise you on the best course of action is always a good idea.