Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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 in order to relieve pressure on the nerve. He or she may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve.
- Analgesics. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, others), can help relieve pain and alleviate inflammation around the nerve. Your doctor may recommend a prescription-strength NSAID if your pain is severe.
- Corticosteroid injections. Injected into the affected area, these can help minimize pain and inflammation.
If the pinched nerve doesn't improve after several weeks to a few months with conservative treatments, surgery to take pressure off the nerve may be necessary. 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.
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