Learning how to treat a pinched nerve can come in handy when you can't afford a trip to the doctor's office, or are in too much pain to drive yourself there. Nerves become pinched by surrounding muscle or bone when you experience an injury from trying to lift too much weight, for example. Pinched nerves are most common in the back area, but any nerve along the arms, legs, and back may be affected.
To learn how to treat a pinched nerve, you will need:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Ice bag or plastic bag
- A wrist splint if the affected area is the wrist
- At the first sign of a pinched nerve, ice the affected area. Use an ice bag or a sandwich bag wrapped in a towel. Leave the ice on the injury for as long as you can stand it without damage to your skin.
- Take an anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin. You can find generic Motrin at most stores. Called ibuprofen, it's the same ingredient and much cheaper. Take 400 to 800 milligrams every four to six hours for pain. Learning how to treat a pinched nerve involves pain management.
- Rest the affected area. Don't use the muscles in the injured area, as this may make the injury worse. You may be tempted to try to maintain your normal routine, but you should never physically labor until the injury is healed. Pinched nerves which are not given a chance to heal may eventually lead to surgery. Complete bed rest is not recommended. Lying on a soft surface may actually worsen the injury. Knowing how to properly treat a pinched nerve will makes a difference in how fast you heal.
- If the pinched nerve is in your wrist, use a wrist splint to immobilize the area. A pinched nerve in the wrist area may also be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you suspect you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, try to change the repetitive motion that caused the injury. Learning how to type with padding under your wrist is one option.
- Call the doctor immediately if you experience loss of muscle function due to a pinched nerve.
- Call the doctor immediately if you are unable to control urination or bowel movements due to a pinched nerve.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise may prevent pinched nerves.