Relief for pinched nerve in the neck

Updated April 17, 2017

It's happened to many of us, you wake up in the morning and can't turn your head to one side. It seems like the pain from the pinched nerve radiates from your neck to your shoulders and no matter what you try, it doesn't ease the pain. According to, relief can be found through acupuncture/acupressure, chiropractic treatment, hot/cold therapy and with pain relievers.


Acupuncture and acupressure are ancient Asian techniques that focus on pressure point therapy. Inserting small needles or applying pressure to the pressure points can bring relief for the pain of a pinched nerve. pinpoints the pressure point for neck pain as being "located on the back of the hand, between the bones in the depression behind the knuckles of the first and middle finger." also suggests that if the pain is on the right side of the neck, use the pressure point on the left hand, and vice versa for the opposite side.

Chiropractic Treatment

According to Dr. Ken Erickson, D.C., there are "two major causes of nerve irritation, each requiring a different method of treatment, so a correct diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms is critical." The first cause is by either a bulging disk or a bony overgrowth pushing on the nerve and causing pain. The second is when the nerve becomes trapped by soft tissues because of repetitive use. Erickson recommends spinal adjustment to treat the pinched nerve which he says can often produce immediate pain relief.

Hot/Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy can ease the inflammation caused by the pinched nerve. Though not specific to a pinched nerve in the neck, the recommends applying ice to locations of sciatic nerve pain for 15 to 20 minutes and after 48 hours applying heat to the affected areas. The relief provided by heat and cold for sciatic pain relates to pinched neck nerve pain because both involve inflamed nerves in the body.

Pain Relievers

The also recommends non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain relief caused by sciatic nerve pain, and if they work for sciatic pain, it is a valid treatment for nerve pain in other areas of the body. These pain relievers can also relieve the inflammation around the pinched nerve and help ease the tightness in the surrounding tissue. If these don't work, the next course of action is pain relievers in a doctor's office, which can include cortisone injections or a prescription of narcotic drugs like codeine. If the doctor is not able to treat the pinched nerve adequately, surgery might be a last resort.

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About the Author

Randi Cardoza has been writing since 2008. Her specialties include health and fitness, DIY projects, home improvement, gardening and crafts. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in marketing from Western Illinois University.