how to treat a pinched nerve

How to Treat a Pinched Nerve: 10 Home Remedies for Quick Relief

Did you know that pinched nerves send your body warning signs such as pain? Do not ignore them.

In this article, we will examine ten things you can do at home to help relieve the pain associated with the pinched nerve.

Do you want to learn how to treat a pinched nerve? Then keep reading to find out!

How to Treat a Pinched Nerve at Home

Here we will go over ten things you can do at home to treat a pinched nerve.

1. Correct Your Posture

Did you know that bad posture could cause your pinched nerve? You want to make sure you are sitting correctly. Improve your usual sitting or standing position.

By doing this, you will help lessen pain while also alleviating compression or constrictive of the affected nerve.

If a pinched nerve is in your neck, make sure you have your chin in a neutral position. Do not keep it too far back or forwards. Make sure your shoulders are in an upright position.

When you are sitting, keep your back straight. When walking or standing, make sure your body is upright and straight. Try to keep these postures often so you can help the pinched nerve.

2. Have a Rest

No matter the location or reason behind your pinched nerve, make sure you rest the area that has been affected. Resting should not be underestimated as part of the healing process. In fact, it is hugely important for your recovery.

For example, a pinched nerve in a neck needs quite a bit of rest. Do not participate in activities like tennis or golf. Rest until the pain is gone.

Also, try to sleep longer. When you are asleep, your body is given a chance to focus on healing. Perhaps use a neck brace while sleeping. This will help limit movement. You won’t risk more injury.

Try sleeping on your back or side and not your stomach.

If your pinched nerve is in your lower back, keep your legs rested a few inches when sleeping. Slip a pillow beneath them.

3. Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the pinched nerve is a fantastic way to relieve some of the pain temporarily and quickly. The cold temperature will numb the area.

This will help with swelling, inflammation, and pain.

To make an ice pack, merely put ice cubes in a plastic bag. Seal it and wrap it up with a towel. Place the pack on the area and keep it there for ten minutes at a time. You can repeat this cooling treatment every hour.

Keep in mind that directly applying ice on the skin can trigger cold burns. Do not forget the towel and plastic bag.

4. Heat Compress

After experiencing the pinched nerve pain for twenty-four hours, it is now time to apply heat to the affected area.

By using heat, you will help the muscles relax that are surrounding the nerve. This will improve the flow of blood to the area of the damaged nerve.

Warm temperatures will speed up the healing process while also providing comfort.

First, you will get a washcloth. Soak it in warm water, then squeeze out the excess. Place this washcloth on the sore area and keep it there for ten minutes.

You can repeat this if you’d like. Another option is using a heating pad or hot water bottle.

5. Bathe in Epsom Salts

Did you know that Epsom salts give your body enough magnesium? This, in turn, helps heal and reduce nerve pain. Take an Epsom salt bath because your body will quickly absorb the magnesium.

Epsom salts also have anti-inflammatory properties. This will help your tight muscles relax that are surrounding the pinched nerve.

Only add one cup of Epsom salt to your warm bath water. Soak in the bath for twenty minutes. Do this twice a week until your symptoms reduce or disappear.

6. Massage with Warm Oil

Another great way to reduce the pain from a pinched nerve is by massaging your muscles with warm oil. This will help activate pressure points. In turn, blood flow will improve, stiff muscles will relax, mobility improves, and the pain lessens.

Try warm olive, mustard, or coconut oil along with a few drops of peppermint oil.

Gently rub on the affected area and massage for ten minutes.

Do two times a day until you see an improvement. You may need to ask for help if it’s in an area you can’t reach by yourself.

7. Castor Oil Compress

Castor oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it ideal for treating inflammation and pain created by a pinched nerve. Oil will help restore the nerve function.

Create a castor oil pack. Use pieces of wool flannel fabric and soak them in warm castor oil. Squeeze out excess oil and place the material on the pained area. Use a piece of plastic wrap to cover the square. Then cover it with a thin towel.

To keep the warmth of the oil, place a heating pad over the towel. You can do this every few hours a day.

8. Stretch Gently

Do some gentle stretches and gain relief from your pinched nerve. By stretching, blood flow will increase, and your stiff muscles will relax.

If the pinched nerve is around your neck, gently rotate it in a circular motion, both counterclockwise and clockwise. This movement will stretch out any irritated muscles. Shift your neck side to side and forward and backward.

If the pinched nerve is in your arm, gently rotate your wrists and arms, counterclockwise and clockwise.

9. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of those spices that is special. If can help relieve inflammation and pain connected with the pinched nerve. Its soothing properties help lessen the symptoms.

Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to coconut or almond milk. Bring to a boil and then add cinnamon. Strain the liquid and add honey. Taste this milk once or twice a day for a couple of weeks.

10. Acupuncture or Acupressure

These are alternative therapies that can treat a pinched nerve. They will relieve the pain while also restoring the nerve function.

They stimulate certain spots on the body. This releases chemicals and allows the person to experience a change in their perception of pain.

Feel Better

We hope you found this article helpful. Next time you experience a pinched nerve, remember these ten different tips on how to treat a pinched nerve.

If the pain is continuing to persist, please contact us today to help. You may need to consider an epidural steroid injection or surgery.

failed back surgery syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: What Is It and How Can I Avoid It?

If you have a condition or pain that leads you down the path of getting back or spinal surgery, chances are you want that surgery to be a success. But when it comes to back surgery, there is the potential that it could fail or your condition could worsen.

This negative result of back surgery is generalized under the term “failed back surgery syndrome” or “FBSS”. This sounds scary and discouraging, but the good news is there are steps you can take to avoid FBSS and have the successful surgical outcome you’re looking for.

In this article, we’re going to go over exactly what FBSS is, how it’s different from post-operative pain, and what you can do to avoid it.

What Is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

As we said earlier, failed back surgery syndrome is a general term for patients who experience an unchanged or worsened condition after getting back surgery.

This syndrome is distinct from the pain you experience post-surgery. Most people will experience pain, stiffness, and discomfort following surgery. FBSS isn’t pain caused by the surgery; it’s pain that occurs as a result of a failed or unsuccessful procedure that can lead to new types of pain and symptoms.

Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The most common symptom of FBSS is chronic pain. This pain could be the same pain experienced pre-op, it could be that same pain worsened, or it could be pain in new areas.

Other symptoms of FBSS include:

  • Difficulty recuperating post-surgery
  • Sharp pains in the back
  • Back spasms
  • Decreased mobility/flexibility
  • Numbness
  • Radiating pain in the leg, hip, arms, etc
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

It’s important to distinguish between normal post-op recuperation and post-op pain from the abnormal chronic pain/symptoms experienced by those with failed back surgery syndrome.

Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

There are a few potential causes of FBSS.

Incorrect/Unnecessary Procedure

First is the idea that back problems and pain can’t always be specifically identified. Back surgery can go in a fix something that is thought to be the cause of your pain, but sometimes whatever gets fixed wasn’t actually the cause of your pain.

When this happens, the true issue is never fixed, which leads to continued pain post-surgery. Also, this means that surgery was performed on an area that didn’t necessarily need it, which can lead to new symptoms and pain as a result.

Failed Procedure

FBSS can also be caused by the procedure itself not going as it’s supposed to. Many back procedures have high failure rates. This could be because of an implantation failure, failure to fuse during a spinal fusion procedure, etc.

Scar Tissue

Sometimes scar tissue can form around the area where the surgery was performed. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and immobility, all of which are symptoms of FBSS.

How to Reduce Your Risk

While there are never any guarantees when it comes to back surgery, there are steps you can take to minimize your risks, help your body heal, and avoid failed back surgery syndrome and the symptoms that come with it.

Trust Your Doctor

Having back surgery is a big deal that can literally change your life. You need to know that you can trust your doctor and surgeons to do the best job that they can even with a surgery that isn’t 100% guaranteed to help you.

Take the time to get consults from a few different doctors. This will help you get a feel for how different doctors would handle your condition so you can know you’re getting the right procedure.

We mentioned that sometimes FBSS is caused when a procedure is done unnecessarily or is the incorrect procedure for what’s causing your pain and symptoms. Consulting multiple doctors and finding one you really trust will help ensure that you’re getting the right procedure from a competent and talented physician.

You can also look up reviews of different surgeons to see other patient’s outcomes.

Weight Loss

But even the best doctors have patients that experience FBSS. The best things you can do to reduce your risk of FBSS is to adjust some things in your life to promote healing and reduce pressure on your back.

Weight is a big risk factor for back pain. If you’re overweight or obese, getting into the normal weight range for your height can take a significant amount of pressure off your back, which can relieve both pain and stress.

Smoking

Cutting out tobacco can also help promote healing. Smoking has been shown to slow down healing times and increase the rate at which the spine degenerates. Smoking could result in a failed procedure, so be sure to stop before surgery.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Finally, you should adjust any activities or positions that lead to or contributed to your condition in the first place. All the surgery in the world won’t help you if you go back to the same damaging behaviors you were doing pre-surgery.

If sitting in an uncomfortable office chair all day was a factor of your lower back pain, don’t go back to doing that post surgery. Get a proper chair that supports your back in a healthy way.

Were you doing incorrect yoga stretches with bad form that lead to your condition? Don’t continue to do those stretches after surgery or you could end up with a worsened, or unchanged, condition (aka FBSS).

Make a plan with your doctor to adjust your lifestyle to promote healing after surgery. They’ll be able to tell you what position to sleep in, what stretches to do, and what things you should not be doing in order to have the best chance at success.

Bottom Line

Failed back surgery syndrome is an unfortunate reality when it comes to back surgery. No back surgery is 100% guaranteed to work. But, there are steps you can take to maximize your chance of success.

Speak to your doctor about your procedure’s success and failure rates and what you can do to prevent a failed outcome. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or book an appointment online.

arthritis of the spine

8 Amazing Exercises to Alleviate Arthritis of the Spine

There are no bones about it: arthritis of the spine is a tough break. The condition is painful and it often takes a combination of treatments to ease the pain.

If you’re suffering from arthritis of the spine, we have good news! There are easy exercises you can do at home to reduce your pain. Some of them focus on good posture, and others focus on strengthening your core. All of them, however, can lead to a healthier life with less pain.

Exercises to Reduce Arthritis of the Spine

The right exercises can reduce the pain of arthritis at any stage. Whether it’s just begun or you’ve spent years trying treatment after treatment, these exercises can complement any treatment plan.

1. Master Good Posture

This isn’t an exercise per se, but it can make a world of difference. You’ll also use it in other exercises, so it’s important to learn.

To improve your posture, imagine an invisible string holding you up. It starts at your hips and runs up through your spine and comes out the top of your head. Be sure to keep your shoulders down.

Practicing good posture helps your arthritis of the spine in several ways. First, it reduces the chances that a spinal misalignment will add to your discomfort. Second, it strengthens your core muscles. These muscles protect your spine, reducing your arthritis symptoms.

2. Perform Side Lifts

This exercise builds your back muscles to protect your spine and soothe arthritis pain. To start, stand with proper posture and put your hands at your sides. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.

Without moving the lower half of your body, bend at the waist to one side. Bend as far as you can without pain, although you should feel your muscles stretching. Use your back muscles to stand back up straight.

You should perform this exercise ten times on each side. As you get stronger, you can increase the difficulty with weights. Hold a small weight in your hand on the side you’re exercising.

3. Go on Regular Walks

It sounds simple, but walking is a great exercise for arthritis of the spine. Walk lightly so you keep the impact on your back to a minimum. Try to walk on surfaces with some “give” like an athletic track.

For further improvement, practice good posture as you walk. Gently engage your core muscles throughout your exercise. In fact, you should also mind your posture as you do chores and move around your house.

4. Practice Tai Chi

Many people talk about yoga as an exercise plan to reduce arthritis. While it can be effective, it tends to put more pressure on your joints than people expect. Even beginners’ yoga can also be too much of a challenge for some people.

Try tai chi instead. Tai chi is an exercise form that’s gentle on your joints. It focuses on slow movements that stretch your muscles and improve your balance.

Depending on how much guidance you want, you can find tai chi classes in most towns. If you prefer to try it at home, there are plenty of tai chi videos on YouTube. Look for routines that are designed for arthritis relief.

5. Try Planking

You might remember planking as an internet trend from several years ago. People would take pictures and videos of themselves laying straight like a board in crazy places. The planking we’re talking about, on the other hand, is a type of exercise.

Start by getting on the floor on your hands and knees with your back straight. If you’re familiar with yoga, this is the tabletop pose. Be sure to use a yoga mat or find another way to cushion your knees.

From this position, straighten one leg and lift it so it forms a straight line with your back. Keep your head facing forward. Hold this position for six seconds before putting your leg back down. Do this for ten reps on each side.

As you get stronger, you can increase the difficulty. While you extend one leg, try extending the opposite arm straight forward. You can also start holding the position for longer.

6. Use a Stability Ball to Do Half Crunches

A stability ball is a large inflatable ball, usually about the height of your knee. You can use it for many types of exercises, but this one is great for people with arthritis.

Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lay back until your back is supported by the ball at around a 45-degree angle. You might need to walk your feet forward t reach this angle.

From this position, use your abdominal muscles to lift your upper body. It’s as if you’re doing the second half of a sit-up, and it’s easier on your back than laying on the floor. Do as many of these half crunches as you can, increasing the number as you get stronger.

7. Try the W Stretch

This stretch targets your back in a direct, easy way to relieve your arthritis pain. Stand with food posture with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your arms and hold them out with your palms facing forward. Your arms should form a “W” shape.

In this position, squeeze your shoulder blades together as much as you can without pain. Hold this stretch for three seconds before returning to your original position. Repeat the exercise ten times. As you get stronger, you can increase the holding time or the number of repetitions.

8. Perform Pelvic Tilts

To do a pelvic tilt, lay on the floor with your knees bent like triangles. You’ll look like you’re about to do a sit-up but your arms are at your sides.

Use your abdominal muscles to tilt your pelvis toward your head without leaving the floor. You won’t see much movement but you’ll feel your core muscles engaging. Repeat this exercise ten times.

Treating Your Arthritis of the Spine

Arthritis of the spine doesn’t have a one-and-done treatment method. It’s a matter of staying on top of your condition and finding the combination of treatments that work for you. Any and all of the exercises above can complement almost any medical treatment.

If you’re looking for more direct treatment options, schedule an appointment with our spinal surgeons.