Kids usually learn a lot of facts on how the body works. As people become older though, they tend to forget the things that they have learned because they focus more on the things that they should do. This is the main reason why some people are not aware that nerves are in charge of carrying electric signals from the brain going to the rest of the body so that the body can work perfectly. Without nerves, some parts of the body will not work and this can be extremely stressful and frustrating.This article explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment of pinched nerve in neck.
When nerves do not have any problem, they can work both ways. They are efferent and afferent. Efferent means that the nerves are sending the signals sent by the brain to the different parts of the body. For instance, it tells the hand to moves when it touches something that is too hot. Afferent on the other hand means that the information received by the parts of the body will then be sent back to the brain for processing. It might seem like a very long process but it only takes nano seconds for the procedures to take place.
A problem may occur though when there is a pinched nerve because the process becomes much slower than usual. Instead of the information travelling in a speed of light, the information becomes stuck on the area where the pinched nerve is.
The Causes of Pinched Nerve In Neck
There are different reasons that can cause a nerve to become pinched. Some of these causes are the following:
- Compression – This happens when the surrounding area of the nerves apply too much pressure on the nerve itself, leaving it to become pinched. The area may be made up of bones or muscles.
- Herniated Spinal Disk – When the spinal is herniated, the gel like foam in between the spinal cord moves a bit outward. There is a possibility that the fluid inside the foam will also spread out and cause pain. The outward disk can also cause the compression of the nerve.
- Injury – Some people who do activities sometimes get into accidents and may have some injury because of it. Depending on how severe the injury is, this might cause some problems with the nerves.
- Bruise – There are times when people hit or are hit with blunt objects that might cause an area to swell and have a bruise. A pinched nerve may also happen in the process.
- Poor Posture – A lot of people right now are not that aware that their posture can affect so many things about their bodies. Having a pinched nerve is just one of those things that you can experience if you would not improve your current posture.
- Sports and Other Activities – Some people do activities that can make their muscles become twisted or a bit inflamed. The inflammation can then cause a pinched nerve.
- Pregnancy – For women who are pregnant, the swelling may occur during the third trimester of the pregnancy although there are instances when the baby is growing bigger and bigger and the nerve may become pinched as early as the second trimester.
- Inherited Tendency – This means that the condition can also be more common if other members of your family have already undergone the same condition in the past.
One thing that you have to remember is that the pinched nerve in neck will not get any permanent damage provided that the pressure being applied to it will go away after a short time but when the pressure because of the certain conditions mentioned above intensifies, there is a great possibility that the nerve will acquire permanent damage.
Some Factors That Can Increase People’s Chances of Acquiring Pinched Nerve
There are some factors that people may have that may increase their chances of getting the condition more. Some of these factors include the following:
- Bone Thickening – There are some people who acquire this condition wherein the spine becomes stiffer than it usually is. This can then cause the nerves to become pinched.
- Thyroid Disease – Those who have this condition may have a higher risk of getting the pinched nerve syndrome especially on the neck area.
- Poor Posture – There are instances when people do not realize that their posture is already poor. Constantly having poor posture and not doing anything to correct the posture may lead to problems later on.
- Diabetes – People who have diabetes have a higher risk of acquiring the condition.
- Obesity – When people are overweight or obese, certain tissues and fats can create pressure on the nerves that might cause the nerves to become pinched. The excess weight can of course be lost with hard work, exercise and sometimes even surgery to get rid of all the excess fat stored in the body.
- Overuse of a Certain Body Part – If you are constantly doing things for your work or for something that you usually do with your neck, there is a possibility that it will become overused. This can then increase your chances of acquiring pinched nerve on your neck.
Some of these risk factors can be avoided while others cannot. The truth is that there are some people who are more at risk of acquiring the condition than others.
Some Symptoms to Watch Out For
More often than not, people are not even aware that they have a pinched nerve because they do not feel it. Here are just some of the symptoms that you should pay more attention to so that you will know what to do when you feel the following things:
- Decreased Sensation on a Certain Area or Part of the Body – If you feel that there is a certain part of your body that has decreased sensation or is extremely numb, this may be because of a pinched nerve. This usually happens when you do a certain position for an extended period of time.
- Sharp Pain – Usually, this happens when the pressure has been lifted from the body part that has a pinched nerve. There are times though when the sharp pain progresses into a tingling type of pain that does not go away. When people have pinched nerves on their neck, the pain may travel up to the arm.
- Not Being Able to Move a Part of the Body – There are instances when you may feel that some parts of your body including your neck has fallen asleep and you find it hard to move.
Do remember that depending on your sleeping position, you may already be pinching a nerve without realizing that it is happening so the effect may be much worse when you wake up. There are also some things that you may do that may further aggravate the condition that you are feeling. There are times when the symptoms do not appear immediately but there are also times when the symptoms are immediately obvious.
Diagnosis for Pinched Nerve In Neck
There are also times when people do not know how the process will be done so that doctors will be able to determine if they have a pinched nerve. In order to prepare you for this, you have to know that it will first start with an interview with your doctor wherein you will be asked if you have already experienced something like this in the past. It is also likely that you will be asked if there are other people in your family who have also experienced this condition. Through those information, the doctor will be able to pinpoint the possible nerves that are affected by this condition.
If it is your neck that is affected by the condition, the doctor will then examine your neck and see if it is responding well to the stimuli that are being provided. The doctor will also test the person’s current strength and see if it is similar to the type of strength that you have shown in the past. There are instances when the tests provide enough information to diagnose and know the possible treatments that will be done to improve your current condition but there are also instances when the condition cannot be determined just yet or the cause has not been determined yet so additional tests may also have to be done by the doctor.
Different Treatments for Pinched Nerve
For people who would like to make sure that their pinched nerve will not become permanent, here are just some of the treatments that people may undergo:
- Narcotics – This can be used to treat severe pain. Just remember that narcotics cannot be used for an extended period of time. This will probably be prescribed by a doctor so that it can be used for short periods.
- Steroids – There are some people who are against the use of steroids but people cannot deny that it can become effective in making sure that swelling in the neck caused by a pinched nerve usually goes away after the use of steroids. Usually, steroids can be taken orally or in the form of injections.
- Physical Therapy – For some people who have lost their sensations because of the pinched nerve, the sensations can be brought back through physical therapy. Depending on the condition, the therapy may have to be done frequently or just once a week.
- Splint – This is usually applied to the part of the body affected by the condition so that the muscles will not get strained too much. It will also allow the muscles of the body to rest for certain periods of time.
- Surgery – When all else fails, this is the type of treatment that can be done to correct the condition.
It will be best if you could work with your doctor and tell your doctor everything that may have led to you acquiring the condition. It will make things easier for your doctor to determine the type of treatment that would be done to improve your condition.
Other Home Treatments for Neck Pinched Nerve
If in case you would also like your condition to not worsen when you are not undergoing treatment at the hospital, here are just some of the things that you have to do:
- Rest – It seems that there are some people who do not get enough rest because they are doing so many things. Try to take some time off to rest so that you can do other things that will help relax your body and will also loosen your muscles so that your nerves will not get strained under stiff muscles and bones.
- Sleep – You may not realize it now but sleeping the required number of hours every day can also help your body regenerate faster. Do remember that the hours that you need to sleep will always depend on what your body needs.
- Follow the Doctor’s Instructions – It is likely that your doctor will orient you about the things that you can and you cannot do while you are at home, trying to recover from your condition. Following what is being asked of you will help your body recover faster. You have to remember that the faster you recover, the bigger the chances that you will become cured with no permanent damage to your nerves.
There are some people who are not sure what will happen to them after the treatment. If you are a bit terrified that things will never go back to normal, you should know that through the treatments done by the doctor, it is possible for people to recover without the symptoms after some time. Of course the length of the treatments and the symptoms will also depend on the how severe the condition was. There are also some people who do not do what is being asked of them so they just let their condition worsen over time. Do not let this happen to you. Be aware of these certain things so that you can avoid getting this condition again in the future.