A pinched nerve usually occurs when surrounding tissues such as bones, muscles or cartilage exert too much pressure on nerve roots. Pinched nerves can occur in the neck, lower back, elbow and virtually anywhere on the body. According to the article "Pinched Nerves" by the staff at Mayoclinic.com, symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling and even muscle weakness. Sleeping with a pinched nerve entails treating symptoms with topical solutions and medication before bedtime; and immobilizing the injured area. Ask your doctor for additional recommendations.
Sleeping with a Pinched Nerve
Stop all physical exercise right after you sustain a pinched nerve injury. Wear a brace throughout the day when you need to be mobile or sit for long periods. Take the brace off about a half hour before bedtime.
During the first 48 to 72 hours after the onset of nerve pain, put ice in an ice pack. Strap or secure the ice pack around your source of pain. Keep the ice in place for 15 to 20 minute intervals throughout the day. Time your ice treatments so that you do your last one about a half hour before bedtime. Again, keep the ice on your injury for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the ice pack. Put you joint brace back on.
Take two ibuprofen or naproxen every four to six hours throughout the day after the onset of pain. Time your last dosage so that you are taking your medication right at bedtime. Find a position in bed that is comfortable. Elevate your joint or muscle above your heart with one or more pillows. Place a pillow on either side of you to prevent too much movement during the night.
If you wake up during the night with pain, take more ibuprofen. Do not exceed the recommended amount. If you are unable to take the medication without overdosing, remove your brace and use ice again for five or 10 minutes. Put your brace back on and try to go back to sleep.
After your inflammation and swelling are under control, spend five or 10 minutes stretching your the muscles or joint in all directions, holding each movement for 15 to 30 seconds. Also, have someone massage the soft tissues around your nerves for five or 10 minutes at bedtime. Use a heating pad after the stretching and massage instead of ice. If you have a pinched nerve in your neck, sleep on a contour pillow as recommended by your doctor.
It takes a lot of advance preparation and treatment to sleep with a pinched nerve. The more ice treatments and anti-inflammatory medications you use during the day will further reduce your pain at night. These treatments work synergistically with one another and they tend to progress gradually in alleviating a pinched nerve. Use whatever you can in bed to limit your movements. The brace should prevent further irritation of your pinched nerve by isolating your joint or muscle.
Never apply ice directly to your skin as this can cause a frostbite injury. Also, never sleep with a heating pad on because you can burn yourself. A defective heating pad may also cause a fire.