Treatment for Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Published: Jun 8, 2011
Treatment for pinched nerve in the neck is quite similar to pinched nerve treatments that you would use in other areas of the spine.

Pinched nerve in the neck treatment should be performed for 6 – 12 weeks. It is completely normal to undergo pinched nerve in the neck treatment for a few weeks before you begin to see any noticeable improvements in how you feel.

How to Treat a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Often the most effect treatment for pinched nerve in neck is resting, this means avoiding any activities that may aggravate your pinched nerve. Your doctor may also advise you to wear a cervical collar to limit how much your neck moves to prevent further irritation to the nerves and to help support the head. These cervical collars are made of either soft foam or a hard plastic and you will need to check under the collar everyday to look for sores or blistering.

Medications for pinched nerve in neck treatment can be used for pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, as well as to help you sleep at night. Most times your medication will only consist of a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Naproxen (Aleve). If these medications are not strong enough to control your symptoms your doctor may also prescribe you stronger Rx medications.

Cervical Pillow
These are specially designed pillows that keep the spine properly aligned as you sleep and can help to reduce your pain allowing you to have a more restful night. A cervical pillow for pinched nerve in the neck treatment can be purchased at many drug stores or from your physical therapist.

Physical Therapy
This type of treatment for pinched nerve in the neck comes in two different types, passive and active. Passive techniques may include the following:

  • Cold therapy

    • This is most helpful when the injury is acute, this means it happened suddenly and you began to feel symptoms immediately or soon after. This therapy helps to reduce pain and swelling by numbing the area and constricting the blood vessels and limiting the amount of blood that flows to the area.

  • Heat therapy

    • This is most helpful if you are dealing with a chronic injury; this is an injury that has been slow to build up and long lasting. This therapy can reduce pain, help to relax sore and tense muscles and increase the amount of blood flow into the area promoting healing of damaged tissues.

  • Massage therapy

    • While this treatment is more expensive than cold or heat therapy it can help to reduce pain, relax sore or tense muscles, and increase blood circulation to the affected area.

  • Hydrotherapy

    • There are many forms of hydrotherapy, from the simple ones such as soaking in a warm bath to the more fancy water spas, whirlpools, and swimming pools. Depending on your needs the water will either be cold or warm.

Active forms of physical therapy are:

  • Exercise

    • This will include exercises that would focus on building the muscles that support your neck. During your therapy your therapist will instruct you on how to properly perform them as well as how many times a day you should be doing them. Once therapy has finished you should continue to perform these exercises 3-4 times per week to keep the muscles healthy.

  • Stretching

    • Stretching exercises will be performed to help increase your range of motion. Before and after all workouts you should make it a habit to stretch, this reduces the risk of injury to the muscles, ligaments and tendons.