A pinched nerve is a typically painful occurrence caused when a nerve is trapped in some way by a bone, cartilage, muscle, or joint. The pressure exerted on the nerve usually prevents it from functioning properly, resulting in numbness, tingling and pain. At the site of the pressure, an inflammatory process occurs which in itself can be quite painful. While relatively common, there are several natural ways to treat a pinched nerve such as massaging the affected area, applying cold and hot packs, and taking herbal remedies.
The pain from a pinched nerve is the result of inflammation at the site of nerve compression as well as the pressure on the nerve itself. As such, most natural ways to treat a pinched nerve involves relieving one or both of these factors while giving the nerve itself a chance to mend on its own.
A simple method for treating pinched nerves is to apply an ice pack to the area. Do so for no more than 25 minutes at a time to prevent ice burn. The theory behind this technique is that the cold redirects the blood supply to the deeper tissues. This improves circulation to the muscles and affected nerves which in turn, promotes healing. The nerve is also numbed by the cold, further alleviating the pain. Hot packs may be used as a pinched nerve treatment especially if the pain has persisted for more than three days.
Some types of natural remedies can also treat a pinched nerve. Hypericum, or St. John’s Wort, has been shown to be an effective natural pinched nerve remedy. However, people taking certain medications like antidepressants are advised not to take it. Fish oils, on the other hand, are thought to reduce the inflammation caused by pressure on a pinched nerve.
Deep muscle massage is another natural way to treat a pinched nerve and when used regularly commonly eases muscle spasm around a damaged nerve. Additionally, immobilizing the area around a painful nerve can be helpful in some circumstances. During sleep, splints or braces can be worn to immobilize a joint and allow the surrounding muscles and nerves to rest.
Preventive measures can be taken to reduce the risk of a pinched nerve or to minimize any exacerbation. For instance, paying attention to posture at all times, taking regular exercise, and avoiding unnecessary weight gain may be effective. In addition, a healthy diet that is rich in potassium and low in acidity may help to heal a pinched nerve.