There’s no pain quite like a pinched nerve in your neck.
- It limits your range of motion, making it painful to simply look over your shoulder when you’re backing out of a parking space.
- It hurts to lift your head off the pillow in the morning, tilt your head back in the shower or even pull your shirt over your head.
- It makes it hard look behind you to help your child in the back seat, forces you to turn your whole body around when someone needs your attention at work and negatively impacts your quality of life.
A pinched nerve occurs when your nerve root becomes compressed as it exits your spinal column. This often causes neck pain. Pain a warning sign that should never be ignored.
Damage from a pinched nerve can range from minor to severe. It may cause temporary or even long-lasting problems. The earlier you receive a diagnosis and begin treatment for neck pain symptoms, the faster you’ll experience relief.
7 Insane (But Effective) Ways to Treat a Pinched Nerve in Your Neck
Pinched nerves in the neck have become more and more common in recent years with the rise of smart phone use. As a culture, we are almost constantly looking down – while waiting in line, at a stop light, on our lunch break or even while we wait to pick up our child from soccer practice.
This forward head posture (the true cause of text neck) puts extra stress on your neck and often causes a pinched or compressed nerve – causing neck pain.
The good news, is that there are several proven ways to effectively treat a pinched nerve in your neck.
Eat Bananas and Dark Green Veggies
Calcium – One of the underlying factors of a pinched nerve in your neck is a calcium deficiency. Add in a few extra calcimum-rich foods like dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale. You can also add sesame seeds, low fat dairy and seaweed.
- If you’re having trouble adding these to your diet, you could try taking a calcium supplement. These can be found at most health food and drug stores. Check with your local chiropractor if you are unsure of how much to take. Never take more than the recommended dose.
- You could also add a few calcium enriched foods to your diet – such as calcium-fortified orange juice.
Potassium – Potassium is important for cell metabolism. A lack of potassium can often contribute to the symptoms of a pinched nerve. Adding a few potassium-rich ingredients into your diet can help to restore nerve function and alleviate neck pain symptoms.
- The foods richest in potassium are apricots, bananas, avocados, and nuts such as cashews, walnuts and avocados. Add these to smoothies in the morning or top your salads with a few of these tasty sources of potassium every day!
- Potassium deficiency needs to be diagnosed by your doctor. To help rectify a potassium deficiency, your doctor may recommend a potassium supplement.
Sit up Straight
When your spine is in a neutral position, the joints in your neck are able to easily hold up the weight of your head, as they were designed.
But, for every inch we lean our head forward, we are adding 10 pounds of pressure on the joints in our neck. Over time, this stress can cause one or more of the nerves in our necks to become compressed or pinched, causing pain.
By making a conscious effort to maintain proper posture, we can prevent and sometimes even correct the cause of a pinched nerve in the neck.
Rest Your Neck
It may seem simple, but resting is a very effective way to treat a pinched nerve in your neck. But, we all know that resting is easier said than done.
One way to remind yourself to limit your neck motion is by wearing a splint or soft collar. Your can purchase one at your local drug store for about $5.00.
Over time, your neck muscles and joints can begin to heal, reducing swelling and may even be able to return to a more normal range of motion.
Get Extra Sleep
Sleeping extra hours is a natural way for your body to heal itself. Make a habit, while you’re healing to sleep a few extra hours each night. A couple hours of extra rest for your body and the injured area should help decrease your neck pain symptoms significantly.
- The more you sleep, the less you’re moving. This extra time will give your body more time to heal itself as you sleep.
- You may want to sleep with a neck brace to limit your movement while you’re sleeping.
- Also consider changing your sleep position if you usually sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleepers are more-likely to experience neck problems than side and back sleepers.
You can rest the pinched nerve in your neck and still keep your blood pumping. Good circulation and toned muscles can help to heal your pinched nerve. Start with a low-impact exercise that feels comfortable. Swimming and walking can help to move your muscles naturally while placing a minimal amount of stress on your joints.
Here’s a great list of neck exercises that can help to increase flexibility and restore motion.
- Inactivity can lead to a loss of muscle strength and cause your body to take more time to heal.
- Remember to maintain good posture when you’re exercising.
- Maintaining a healthy weight can also help to prevent a pinched nerve.
Ice reduces swelling. When your joints are inflamed and your nerves are irritated, your body sends blood to the affected area to help you to heal. Swelling is part of your body’s natural response to injury. However, too much swelling can make it difficult to move or turn your head.
By applying ice a few times each day, you can control the swelling while still allowing your body to heal.
Know When to See Your Chiropractor
If your neck pain subsides but then comes back over the course of a few weeks, consult with your local chiropractor for help. Even if the some of these treatment methods that alleviated your symptoms were originally helpful, if they no longer provide relief, you need to have your neck examined.
- You should also see a chiropractor if you feel constant numbness or neck pain, even after you’ve rested or if your neck begins to feel weaker.
- Seek immediate treatment if your neck pain symptoms are severe or your skin feels cold or appears very pale or blue.
The local chiropractors at Fulk Chiropractic specialize in neck pain relief through chiropractic treatment. By using gentle chiropractic adjustments, they have helped thousands of Kansas City area patients alleviate the pain that often results from a pinched nerve in your neck.
To see if chiropractic can help with your specific condition, call 913-76406237 to speak with one of the doctors on call.