Avoiding a pinched cervical nerve
A pinched nerve in the cervical (upper) spinal region can lead to neck pain and a number of other symptoms in people of all ages. Although a pinched nerve can be caused by a simple muscle strain, degenerative spine conditions such as a herniated disc or spinal arthritis can also narrow the spinal column and cause painful nerve compression. These conditions are generally related to the natural aging process, so there is no way to completely avoid them. However, by being aware of actions that put increased pressure on the neck and upper spine, you can lower your risk of developing a pinched cervical nerve.
Tips for preventing cervical nerve compression
Even though there is no way to completely prevent a pinched cervical nerve, the following tips can lower your chances of it happening. Whether you are trying to avoid muscle strain or a degenerative spine condition, be sure to do the following:
- Practice proper lifting techniques. Lift with your knees, keep your back straight and head forward.
- Take frequent breaks. Taking a small break every hour can help avoid muscle spasms and fatigue.
- Stretch before physical activity. Proper stretching increases the flexibility and extension of the muscles that support the neck and reduces the risks of injury.
- Don’t try to do too much. One of the most common ways that a person gets hurt is by overdoing it. Understand your limits, and don’t put yourself in a position where you’re likely to strain yourself.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and electrolytes will keep you from becoming dehydrated, cramped and prone to injury.
- Avoid repetitive activities. Constant bending, twisting or lifting puts extreme pressure on the spine and can accelerate wear and tear.
- Practice good posture. Regardless of your activity, it is important to maintain correct spine alignment to reduce your chances for a pinched cervical nerve.
Cervical pinched nerve treatment
If, despite your best efforts, you experience a pinched cervical nerve, visit your doctor for information on your treatment options. In most cases, a pinched nerve from a mild neck injury will respond to conservative treatments, such as pain medication, ice therapy and a little rest. If you have been diagnosed with a spine condition and your pain persists for several weeks despite conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery can accomplish nerve decompression with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^
We can help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures with a free MRI review.*