A pinched or trapped nerve in neck can cause neck pain or pain which extends to the arms and hands. It is referred to as pinched nerves when a nerve or set of nerves get injured or damaged. Nerves are responsible for transmitting impulses to and from the brain, for example, controlling senses like touch or moving limbs. In this article, more detailed information about trapped nerve in neck will be explained.
Causes of Trapped Nerve in Neck
Trapped nerve can be caused by pinching where the nerve is injured or damaged. It can be caused due to compression, overstretching or constriction of the nerve. While trapped nerve in neck can be caused by the following:
- When a cervical disk slips out of its location, it can put pressure on the nerve in the neck.
- Spinal stenosis causes decrease of space between vertebrae, which squeezes the nerves in the neck.
- If the spine gets degenerated due to age or other causes, the vertebrae get compressed, causing the nerves to get pinched.
- Arthritis or degenerative diseases can cause bony growth in the neck, which puts pressure on the surrounding nerves.
Signs and Symptoms of Trapped Nerve in Neck
Trapped nerve in the neck can have the following signs and symptoms:
- Pain, tingling, numbness or burning sensation in the neck, as well as shoulders, fingers and arms.
- Muscular spasms in areas around the neck.
- Trapped nerve in the neck can give rise to a condition called as cervicobrachial syndrome where there is pain, numbness, weakness, as well as swelling in the neck, which can also influence the arms.
- Headache in the back of the head, temples or pain behind the eyes.
- The person can feel as if the muscles have gotten weak, or have delayed reflex responses.
- Jerky movements like sneezing or coughing can make the symptoms worse.
Diagnosis of Trapped Nerve in Neck
A specialized doctor will conduct series of examinations which will help in determining the trapped nerve in neck. Medical history will be reviewed, along with questions to determine the symptoms. The result from these questions will be checked before any treatment is prescribed.
Treatments for Trapped Nerve in Neck
When you find out that you have this problem, you should immediately give lot of rest to the neck. Avoid sitting or standing in awkward positions for long duration. Pillows used also should not cause any strain on the neck. This condition is mainly caused due to sitting on the computer for long durations, so you need to avoid this. If you sit still for long, it is not a cure for this condition, and it will only result in a stiff neck. Ensure you avoid straining the neck further.
Other treatment options for trapped nerve in neck include:
- For severe pain, painkillers, muscle relaxants or NSAIDs can be taken.
- Using heating pads, ice packs or massage can help in relieving the pain.
- To restrict the movement of the neck, a neck collar can be used based on the advice of doctors.
- Exercise can help in strengthening the neck muscles and improving their range of motion. Physical therapy can be done for pain which is caused due to arthritis or bone spurs.
- Acupressure, acupuncture and aromatherapy are some alternative therapies which can provide relief.
- If a nerve present in the cervical spine gets compressed, steroids or anesthetics are administered as epidural injections.
- If there is no relief from any of these treatment methods, surgery is performed.
The video below also provides you many measures to treat a trapped nerve in neck: