Treatment options for a pinched nerve in the neck include rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, narcotics and physical therapy, as reported by WebMD. In some cases, a pinched nerve requires surgery or the use of splints.
Resting the neck and abstaining from activities that may worsen symptoms is often enough to treat a pinched nerve, as confirmed by WebMD. If the pain persists, patients may require treatment to shrink or remove the swollen tissue around the nerve. Patients can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen to bring down swelling. Oral corticosteroids may reduce swelling and discomfort, and steroid injections may bring down inflammation long enough to let the pinched nerve recover. If pain is severe, doctors sometimes prescribe narcotics for short periods of time.
Physical therapy helps strengthen the neck muscles and enhance flexibility, according to WebMD. Doctors may instruct patients to wear a soft collar to help the neck muscles rest by limiting mobility. If conservative treatments are not successful, doctors sometimes recommend surgery to remove disc material, bone tissue or scar tissue that is compressing the nerve. Recovery time for a pinched nerve varies greatly between patients, depending on the severity of the nerve compression.