“A pain in the neck” is a familiar euphemism, but it’s a very real thing to anyone suffering from a pinched nerve. It’s also more common than you’d think—experts estimate that 85 in 100,000 Americans deal with pinched nerve pain.
Also called nerve compression, a pinched nerve occurs when your bones or soft tissue place pressure on a nerve. This can cause pain, numbness, and tingling along your spine or down your arms or legs. Sciatica, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome are common types of “pinched nerve” pain.
So here’s the million-dollar question: Should you get a massage for a pinched nerve? Can massage therapy help with nerve pain? And if it does, what type of massage is best?
Keep reading for the answers!
Massage for a Pinched Nerve: Does It Help?
There isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” answer, as it depends on what’s causing your pinched nerve. Let’s briefly look at two common causes of pinched nerves to learn if and when massage therapy can help.
A Pinched Nerve Caused by Soft Tissues
You might automatically assume that a pinched nerve is a spinal problem, but that’s not always true. For some people, their pinched nerve pain results from tight muscles, ligament, or tendons.
For example, a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in your wrist places pressure on the median nerve and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A day of skiing or cycling can tighten the muscles in your low back and hip, placing pressure on the sciatic nerve and causing pain down your leg.
In these cases, massage therapy can offer safe, effective relief for your symptoms. One of the main goals of massage is to encourage your muscles to soften, lengthen, and relax. If soft tissues are the cause of your nerve compression, massage can ease some of that painful pressure off the nerve.
Of course, you might not experience total relief from one massage session, especially if you’ve had the pain for a long time. A series of weekly or monthly massages, however, could help your body to heal itself.
A Pinched Nerve Caused by Spinal Compression
Have you been diagnosed with a herniated disc or another spinal problem that’s creating nerve pain? Can massage help?
Well, keep in mind that massage therapists work on your body’s soft tissues, not your bones. If you do seek massage therapy for your pinched nerve pain, your therapist will only massage the related muscles, ligaments, and tendons—not on the affected bone or disc.
What does this mean? While it’s true that massage therapy will not “fix” a herniated disc (or a similar problem), it can give you some relief in the meantime. A massage will relax the affected muscles and take some of the pressure off the nerve, making it a valuable addition to your recovery plan.
Of course, you’ll want to get your doctor’s approval before you consider a massage (or any other treatment) for pinched nerve pain relief. You’ll also want to explain your condition to your therapist before the session begins so they can tailor the treatment to your body’s needs.
Looking for Relief From Pinched Nerve Pain?
To treat your pinched nerve, your doctor might prescribe chiropractic care, cortisone injections, or (in severe cases) surgery. It really depends on what’s happening with your body and what type of treatment you wish to pursue.
But if you’re looking for a safe, natural, and effective way to deal with pinched nerve pain, massage therapy is a great option! A relaxing Swedish massage might be best for your body, while others might get more relief from a deep tissue massage.
Either way, our team of skilled therapists is here to help you. Give us a call at 970-748-1600 to book a massage or click here to learn more about our discounted packages.