Nerve pain can be caused by tendinitis (tendon inflammation), stenosis (narrow bone space) or a pulled muscle or tendon that pinches the nerve near a specific joint. According to the article "Nerve Pain Entrapment Neuropathy" at Painclinic.org, a resource managed by pain specialists, a pinched nerve "is caused by physical compression or irritation of major nerve trunks and peripheral nerves, producing distant nerve pain symptoms." Treatments for nerve pain are similar to those of tendon pain and usually include a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and rehabilitation exercises.
Things You'll Need
- Joint brace
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve)
- Ice pack or hand towel
- Bath towel
- Heating pad
Getting Rid of Nerve Pain
Stop all physical activity and exercise that affects your specific nerve pain. Wear a joint brace as often as you can when moving around or while working.
Take two ibuprofen or naproxen pills every four to six hours throughout the day. Repeat dosage every day until your nerve pain is gone.
Put ice in an ice pack or inside a hand towel. Strap or wrap the ice pack or hand towel (use bath towel for tying) around your joint so that the ice is compressed directly against you pain source. Leave the ice in place for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every three to four hours throughout the day. Continue ice treatment each day until the initial inflammation, swelling and pain have subsided.
Use a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes several times per day once the inflammation and pain are under control. Use the heating pad every day until your nerve pain is gone.
Perform basic stretching exercises for the joint in which you have nerve pain once the inflammation and pain have been substantially reduced. If your joint moves in two directions (i.e. knee), stretch the joint as far as possible one way and hold that movement for 15 to 30 seconds. Subsequently, move your joint in the opposite direction and stretch it for another 15 to 30 seconds. If your joint moves in more than two directions (i.e. wrist), also stretch it to each side, holding the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds each way.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure you get ice on your nerve during the first 48 to 72 hours after the onset of pain. Ice causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) which minimizes inflammation and consequential pain by limiting the flow of blood and lymph to the nerve and joint. Once the initial inflammation is under control, heat will promote blood flow (with healing properties such as oxygen and Vitamin C) to your injured nerve.
- Try massaging the nerve as massage also increases blood flow and relaxes the nerve. Exercise will help strengthen surrounding tissues and take pressure off your affected nerve.
- Never apply ice directly to your skin as this can cause frostbite. Additionally, do not start any rehabilitation exercises too soon because physical activity can further pinch or injure the nerve if the inflammation is not under control.
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