Out of the many causes for chronic pain, a pinched nerve is by far one of the more common sources we hear of today. Coping with a pinched nerve can be rather taxing, especially if you don’t know what helps relieve your pain outside of painkillers. Here are a few tips to help you cope with a pinched nerve:
What is a Pinched Nerve?
Before getting into how to take care of a pinched nerve, it’s important to know what a pinched nerve is. The definition is pretty basic-- a pinched nerve occurs when tissue, muscle, or bone presses against a nerve with too much pressure. Pinched nerves can happen anywhere, but places like the joints, neck, back, and wrists are common places for pinched nerves to develop, mostly because those areas are quite complicated and have many smaller parts to them.
How can I tell if I Have a Pinched Nerve?
If you experience sharp, stabbing pain or pain that burns and radiates outward from the center, you may have a pinched nerve. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or a decreased sense of touch in that given area.
Professionals screen for pinched nerves using many different techniques as well, including MRI scans, EMG scans, Ultrasounds, and nerve conduction studies to pinpoint the exact location and severity of a pinched nerve as well. These processes, combined with the patient’s symptoms can help determine the best possible treatment for a pinched nerve.
What Can I do?
Fortunately, most pinched nerves tend to go away on their own, and can be helped along with a little bit of self care. To help relieve pain, over-the-counter painkillers are often recommended, but using temperature therapy (like a warm compress) can help as well. For the nerve to recover, it is best to rest it. If a nerve in the same general area gets pinched or damaged frequently, consider calling a physical therapist to help guide you through muscle-strengthening exercises.
When to Call a Doctor
Pinched nerves are not fatal, but any kind of pain can be debilitating. If your pain or symptoms last for several days, call your primary care physician to schedule an examination. In some cases, pinched nerves cannot recover on their own, and you may need surgery or physical therapy to relieve your pain. Remember, you know your body best, and if something feels off, say something!
If you are looking for alternatives to painkilling drugs, or ways to help relieve post-op pain, visit the Medical Supply Depot for products and information.