How to Relieve a Trapped Nerve in Your Shoulder
Shoulder and Arm Pain Caused by a Trapped Nerve
A trapped nerve in your shoulder and arm is possibly one of the most painful and annoying pains you can experience.
At first, it just feels like a dull ache. Then a stabbing pain hits you smack in your forearm. It rather feels like someone stabbing you with an electric needle. But the pain doesn't stop there.
As the nerve becomes more inflamed or trapped the sensation can become excruciating. Electric needles can hit you in the top of your arm, neck and forearm over and over again.
And it won't stop until you do something about it.
I am sure most of us have experienced Sciatica, the nerve pain from your thigh down your leg to your foot. The pain you suffer with a trapped nerve is very similar. The only difference is that every single time you move your head your shoulder and arm feels on fire.
So what to do?
Things to Consider If You Have a Pinched Nerve
- X-Ray or other scan
- Change of clothing
- Strapping or stretchy bandage and heat/cold packs
- Painkilling creams
Let's look at that in more detail.
Example Treatment Regimen
*Never use at the same time as painkiller tablets
Apply Heat Packs
For 20 minutes
Ask for a Scan
Let's talk about my arm. I think the first word that comes to mind is, ouch! This very first pain was such a shock as it hits you like a train!
I am not exaggerating. It actually feels like someone stabbing you. This first happened to me about four years ago. It would hit me in the shoulder and arm and for a few days it was really painful, but then it would go on its own and I would forget about it.
The next time was much worse and went on for a few weeks. In the end, after taking loads of painkillers, I gave up and went to the doctors. He sent me to have a scan.
The trouble is with nerve pain is that it doesn't show up on an X-Ray or Scan. So at least I knew it wasn't anything serious.
But that really didn't help.
Luckily that time it died down again on its own.
Painkillers and Physio
These last few weeks have been hell with the nerve pain in my arm and shoulder. So I went back to the doctors and they recommended codeine and *Iboprufen. But was told to make an appointment with a physio. This I did, and off I went to be healed.
But of course, it wasn't that easy.
In fact, it was really painful! He pulled and pummeled pressed and twisted. Then he gave me exercises to do and was told to do them at least twice every hour.
Obviously, I won't mention the exercises here as each person is totally different and it may cause injury. But yes they did work for a while. But after any physical work, or even typing for a while it came back with a vengeance.
So, what now?
*Iboprufen has been linked to heart problems. It's not a good idea to take it for more than a week. Even if you don't have any heart problems it can lead to palpitations in some people. Best to keep off it and just take codeine and paracetamol.
(For translation of tablet names from UK to American, just look it up in Google if you are not sure)
Physical Therapy Methods to Overcome Pinched Nerves
Rest and Relaxation
One of the main things you should do to heal your trapped nerve is to rest. The trouble is once you go to bed your usual position won't work. If you lay on your side and its the bad side, you will be kept awake all night. And the same goes for the other side too.
For some reason wherever you place your arm and shoulder it's going to still be painful. But don't panic, there is a way to get some sleep.
The best position is to lay on your back, propped up with a few more pillows than usual. And, strangely enough, place a pillow under your knees too. this will relieve pressure on your back, therefore relaxing your shoulder. Then add a small pillow beneath your bad arm. This really does work.
I did this for a whole week and felt so much more relaxed and less tired.
And don't forget to take a painkiller just before bedtime. This will take the edge of the pain.
Strapping Bandage or Stretchy
I found that by applying a stretchy pull-on bandage around your lower arm does help to compress the nerve to help it heal. A physiotherapist may suggest a sling to help it heal by keeping it still as you go about your day.
Sometimes the stretchy bandage was better placed on my bicep area all depending on where the stabbing pain was attacking at the time.
I also found that rubbing in the painkilling gel was good too.
My physio told me to use heat packs more than the cold packs on my shoulder. When I asked why he said that cold was good, but it would automatically make you tense up around the injury. Whereas heat packs instead of irritating it, would actually make the area relax more and the heat would attract the healing blood cells and speed up the healing.
Underwear That's Too Tight Will Cause Pain
I know this may sound blatantly obvious. But hear me out. Sometimes the obvious can be staring you straight in the face, but pain makes your mind dull.
There are so many nerve endings in your body that by removing one item of clothing may help your pain a little, but not necessarily kick it out completely.
For example, even if your pain is in your neck or arm, just by wearing a tight belt can restrict the blood flow and cause all sorts of nerve problems.
Being a woman its obvious that a certain type of clothing is going to make a big impact on shoulder pain.
I am of course talking about Bras.
Whatever the size or shape of the person, if a bra is too tight on the straps it's going to irritate the nerves in your neck.
What most people don't realise is that if its also tight under the cups and around your high waist it can cause as much damage as the straps.
I changed my bra at least five times. Big ones, small ones, tight around the back, front opener etc. And nothing made a darn bit of difference.
By this time I was getting desperate. I realised that I should buy a cropped top bra, but my town didn't have any and I needed it now, not tomorrow so to speak.
But seeing as my motto is 'If you can't go through it, go round it' I sat down and had a think.
Then the light dawned.
Scrabbling around in my undies draw I couldn't find a darn thing, then I suddenly came across a stretchy tight T-Shirt.
It was too small for me to wear as a T, as I had put on weight, but for a bra top...?
Oh, the relief!
It was amazing! The top was tight enough for supporting my shape, but by stretching it over a bigger area, i.e. sides, back and lower back, it balanced the weight better.
And the relief from the restrictions, strap and under the bra, was so good.
Just this on its own took away a lot of the pain.
So my point is, you don't need to go out and buy a sport/support bra, just check your wardrobe!
Facts About Tight Bras According to Experts
Wearing a tight bra may make you feel good, but it's doing a whole lot of bad.
- It can restrict blood flow.
- And impair lymph tissues. Lymph tissues usually wash out waste materials from your breast area, but too tight bras will stop it from working. If this is the case it can cause the waste to build up and cause cancer.
- It can cause neck, shoulder and arm pain.
- In fact not wearing one keeps your shape better than squeezing it into a small area or restriction! (who knew?)
- And last but not least. If you do insist on wearing a bra, go and get it fitted correctly! Over 80% per cent of women are wearing the wrong size!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Nell Rose