Some different treatments for a pinched neck nerve include anti-inflammatory pain medications and cortisone injections. For extreme pain, doctors may also prescribe stronger prescription anti-inflammatory medications. Some people may also find relief by applying heat or ice to the painful area of the neck. It is also possible to alleviate the pain from a pinched neck nerve with physical therapy. Surgery is generally a last resort if the condition does not correct itself in time.
The best over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for a person with a pinched neck nerve to take may be those containing either aspirin or ibuprofen. These are considered nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). When these drugs and stronger prescription NSAIDs prove to be ineffective, cortisone injections may help. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory, and injections of this substance into the affected area may provide instant relief for some people that typically lasts longer than the relief from various other medications. Cortisone is a type of steroid, and for this reason a doctor will usually not administer this treatment before moving onto other treatment methods.
People who want to try to cope with their pinched neck nerve pain at home may be able to find some relief by using an ice pack or heating pad on it. It is also important to limit movement of the area as much as possible, and the use of a neck brace could help with this. When treating any injury with an ice pack, it is normally recommended not to place the ice directly on the skin due to the possible risk of frostbite, which could occur in mild form after just 30 minutes. A towel or something similar should be placed between the injured area and the ice pack to prevent any long-term damage.
In some cases, a pinched neck nerve will heal itself over time. Some people may feel 100 percent better after just a day of pain, while others may find that they cannot recover. People with chronic pain from pinched neck nerves may benefit from physical therapy, which involves doing exercises targeted to the specific affected area. These exercises may strengthen the muscles around the pinched nerve that might result in less pain over time due to a release of pressure on the injured area. People who cannot seem to get better regardless of any treatment they try may have to have surgery done to correct the pinched neck nerve.