The most frequently recommended treatment for pinched nerve is rest for the affected area. Your doctor will ask you to stop any activities that cause or aggravate the compression.
Depending on the location of the pinched nerve, you may need a splint or brace to immobilize the area. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend wearing a splint during the day as well as at night because wrists flex and extend frequently during sleep.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. He or she may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), can help relieve pain.
Corticosteroid injections, given by mouth or by injection, may help minimize pain and inflammation.
If the pinched nerve doesn't improve after several weeks to a few months with conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery to take pressure off the nerve. The type of surgery varies depending on the location of the pinched nerve.
Surgery may entail removing bone spurs or a part of a herniated disk in the spine, for example, or severing the carpal ligament to allow more room for the nerve to pass through the wrist.
April 07, 2017
- NINDS pinched nerve information page. National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/pinchednerve/pinchednerve.htm?css. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Rutkove SB. Overview of lower extremity peripheral nerve syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Overview and evaluation of hand disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/hand-disorders/overview-and-evaluation-of-hand-disorders?qt=&sc=&alt. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00332. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Rutkove SB. Overview of upper extremity peripheral nerve syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.