How to Fix a Chronic Pinched Nerve in the Neck, Back or Shoulder

March 3, 2023

The solution for a chronic pinched nerve can depend on the severity of the pain you are feeling and how long you have been dealing with the issue. In general, extreme pain or longstanding issues may require more aggressive treatment, such as pain management injections or regenerative medicine. Surgery is generally recommended as a last resort after non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment options have been exhausted.

There are steps you can take to alleviate chronic pinched nerves in the neck, back or shoulder. A combination of non-surgical treatments is available to treat pinched nerve chronic pain. These may include:

  • Resting the injured area
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching or exercise rehabilitation routines

If your pain is severe, you should consult with a specialist who can take a closer look at your neck, back or shoulder. An orthopaedic specialist will be able to develop an effective treatment plan so you can resolve the pinched nerve and reduce or potentially eliminate your pain.

Symptoms of a Chronic Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is a compressed nerve that radiates pain to different parts of the body. Some patients suffer deferred pain, or pain originating in another part of the body than the one in which it’s experienced. Chronic pain from pinched nerves may develop if at-home remedies do not resolve the issues or if overuse of the surrounding muscles causes increased sensitivity or reinjury.

Symptoms include:

  • Stiffness or pain in the neck, arm, shoulders or back
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles sensation in the surrounding areas
  • Decreased feeling in the affected region
  • Aching pain
  • Sharp or stinging pain

Causes of a Chronic Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves can be caused by injuries that result in shifted bones or spinal discs, age-related degeneration or a herniated disc. These are the most common reasons nerves in the spine become compressed. The changes result in stiffening in the spine, potentially causing chronic pain.

Some ailments or health conditions may increase the odds of developing a pinched nerve, such as:

  • Diabetes: Increased blood sugar values may damage nerves over time
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Inflammation may cause pressure in nerves near joints or other parts of the spine
  • Obesity: Being overweight can affect your nerve pathways, potentially causing swelling and resulting in excess pressure on your nerves

How Are Pinched Nerves Diagnosed?

Pinched nerves are diagnosed via a physical examination of the neck, back and shoulders. Our orthopaedic specialists will thoroughly evaluate your description of symptoms and look for muscle weakness or pain points in affected areas, such as the arms and back.

We may also encourage the use of diagnostic tests to further assess your symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms associated with a pinched nerve may be connected to an entirely different issue. Diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRIs and CT scans allow us to create a detailed image of your musculoskeletal system and nerve passageways. This allows us to accurately identify and address the root of your pain and greatly decreases the potential for misdiagnosis.

Pinched Nerve Treatment

Fixing a pinched nerve in the back, neck or shoulder requires the development of a treatment plan focused on reducing pain and relieving pressure on the nerve. This often includes reducing surrounding inflammation, adopting lifestyle changes to avoid overuse and dutifully following a program of strengthening exercises to ensure that the weakened area is restrengthened effectively.

Effective pinched nerve treatment includes:

  • Physical Therapy: Exercise treatment, like a stretching regimen, can be an effective way to relieve pain by increasing your mobility and flexibility. This can strengthen muscles surrounding the pinched nerve and potentially alleviate chronic pain symptoms.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: You may be prescribed medications to reduce inflammation in your body that may be exacerbating pain connected to a pinched nerve. This can also help to reduce your sensitivity to the pain overall.
  • Rest: Rest is necessary to alleviate additional stress on surrounding muscles, nerves and ligaments. Overuse will only increase chronic pain, so limiting exertion is crucial to recovery.

Explore Pain Management Solutions for Pinched Nerves, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries

Chronic pain can become debilitating if you don’t get the support you need. Let Non-Surgical Orthopaedics provide you with the support and resources to get you on track to a full recovery. Contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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