Pinched Nerve Treatments can Help
Nerves are found throughout your entire body and any time one of these nerves is being pinched, compressed, or otherwise irritated you may experience pain and other symptoms in the area that nerve serves.
Treatment is focused on removing whatever is pinching or irritating the nerve.
Relieving the pain and other symptoms of a pinched nerve requires relieving the pressure or removing whatever is pinching the nerve.
The best way to do this will depend on exactly where the nerve is being squeezed.
Nerves can be pinched in many different ways and there is no single treatment that will work in every situation.
All treatment plans will begin with the easiest and least invasive treatments first.
Changing your position, or changing the way you do things, can sometimes be helpful for relieving pressure on nerves in certain situations.
Some Obvious Examples
If sitting on the toilet for too long or sitting in the wrong position pinches a nerve in your leg causing it to go to sleep...... Don't sit on the toilet for too long and don't sit in that position.
If typing or other repetitive activities causes pain and numbness in your hands from carpal tunnel syndrome ….you need to stop typing and doing other repetitive activities. I understand that this may not be an option if these are required by your job, but still it is a choice (you may need to look at other options).
Don't Do What Hurts... I know it seems obvious
Any time a certain activities consistently caused your symptoms to occur you need to consider ways to avoid those activities. Another option would be a brace of some sort that prevents the motion that is pinching the nerve but still allows you to do what needs to be done.
Changing your activity, or using a brace or some other type of support, may be helpful for carpal tunnel syndrome and some other pinched nerve situations. But in other situations, such as spinal stenosis, it may not be as helpful.
Is it Helping?
When changing the way you do things and using a brace or other support have not been helpful you may need to consider medications that can be used to relieve pain from a pinched nerve.
Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be helpful in situations where inflammation and swelling are part of what is pinching the nerve.
All Pinched Nerve Treatments
have Risks and Side Effects
These medications can affect your blood pressure, your stomach, and your kidneys.
Always discuss any new medicine you are considering with your doctor who knows your medical history and understand any other medical problems you may have.
Image thanks to The Parenting Patch via Wikimedia Commons
You can also discuss with your doctor anti-seizure medications that may be useful as a pinched nerve treatment.
Medications like gabapentin or pregabalin can provide some relief because they work on the nerves. They can be helpful for relieving pain and other symptoms that are caused by nerves.
Narcotic medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are not really very good pinched nerve treatments. They do not have very much effect on nerve pain. They can help to "take the edge off" at higher doses, but at higher doses side effects start to become a problem.
Side effects associated with narcotics include constipation, sleepiness, confusion, and risk of addiction. This group of medications needs to be used with care.
As a pinched nerve treatment steroid medications such as methylprednisolone and triamcinolone will dramatically reduce swelling and inflammation when injected into the area around the nerves.
Can be Very Effective But...
This can give you excellent relief that may or may not be long lasting. When the medicines are injected into painful areas they will be gradually absorbed over a about six weeks but how long your relief will last depends on many variables.
The problem with these injections is that although they do
make you feel better; they do not fix the problem.
Your carpal tunnel syndrome may get better for several weeks, but if you continue the overuse activities that caused it, the pain is likely to return. However, if you have an injection, and begin using a brace and otherwise modify your activity your relief may last longer.
It is a similar situation with other areas where the nerves are commonly pinched.
Steroid injections will often provide at least temporary relief but if other changes are not made the pain and other symptoms may return.
When Conservative Treatments
are not Enough
When you are having pain and weakness or other problems from a pinched nerve and less invasive treatments have not been helpful you may need to consider surgery to relieve your symptoms so that you can return to normal activity.