A pinched nerve in your neck or back can be debilitating, causing various symptoms such as numbness in the arm or leg, muscle spasms, tingling or burning, hot and cold sensations or radiating pain from the lower back down through the leg area. A minor pinched nerve can usually be treated at home, but be sure to call a doctor if you experience persistent pain that lasts for more than a few days or worsens over time. Other warning indications you may need a physician are a sudden onset of unexpected weakness in the area, lack of bladder control or sudden numbness and loss of sensation.
Begin treatment at home by alternating between hot and cold packs on the affected area, switching between heat and cold every 20 minutes. Be sure to place a towel between the packs and your skin to avoid irritation.
Take an anti-inflammatory (over-the-counter) product such as Advil to help relieve pain and inflammation, followed by a long, hot shower. Position the water stream over the affected area.
Lay down afterward with a rolled-up towel placed beneath your neck to help relieve stress on the muscles. You may use a massager device to gently work the affected area or have a friend or partner lightly massage it for you.
Perform light range-of-motion stretches to help alleviate strain. Pain in the neck can be relieved by performing simple neck rolls. Lower back pain can benefit from pulling your knees up to your chest—one at a time--while lying in a prone position. Hold the knee against your chest for 10 seconds before moving on to the second one, repeating three to five times per knee.
Go for a light walk, especially if your lower back is giving your problems. This will bring warmth the area and help take the strain off of your back. Simple exercise also releases endorphins–a natural pain reliever.
Cramped posture over a prolonged period of time can cause a pinched nerve. Be sure to move regularly to avoid over-straining your back and neck.