Pinched nerves can be painful. Quite painful. For instance, your sore back, stiff neck, or pain in your arms and legs could be caused by a pinched nerve. It is a condition that actually occurs when pressure is applied to a nerve, usually by surrounding tissues such as bones, cartilage, or muscles.
This pressure can interfere with the normal functioning of the nerve, leading to pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness that you are experiencing in certain affected areas. It can occur in various parts of the body, including the neck, back, arms, and legs. Among these, a pinched nerve in the neck is quite common and can be a matter of serious concern.
What Are The Exercises For Pinched Nerve In The Neck?
But take heart—the majority of cases resolve without surgery. Yeah, if you change your postures, exercise regularly, and stretch accordingly, that ailing neck pain can be done with.
Before going at length with the exercise section, let’s first go through the condition at hand.
Pinched nerve in the neck
Also known as cervical radiculopathy, pinched nerve in the neck is a medical condition that occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated, causing pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arm, shoulder, and hand. It is often caused by a herniated disk, bone spur, or other tissues that put pressure on the nerve in the neck.
Likewise, the condition may also be caused by a degenerative condition like arthritis or spinal stenosis, or from a neck injury.
What are the symptoms?
A pinched nerve in the neck can cause the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Arm pain
- Numbness or tingling in the hand, shoulder, or arm
- Weakness in the arm, shoulder, or hand
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- Difficulty with coordination or fine motor movements
- Pain that worsens with certain neck movements
Depending on how severely the nerve is being compressed, different symptoms may appear gradually or all at once. In some cases, a pinched nerve in the neck can cause permanent nerve damage if left untreated. However, if your symptoms are minor, you can try the exercises below for a significant reduction in pain.
Although these are well-thought-out exercises, one must do these exercises slowly to prevent further damage.
- Neck side bend: Stand with your arms by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. Or, if standing bothers you, you can perform the side-bending stretch while sitting. Gently tilt your head to one side until you feel a stretch. Hold for ten to fifteen seconds, and then reset to the initial position. Repeat on the other side.
- Head turns: Start by sitting or standing with good posture, keeping your chin level, and looking straight ahead. Slowly turn your head to one side, holding the position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise by turning your head to the other side. Do 10-15 repetitions in each direction, moving smoothly and avoiding any jerky movements.
- Shoulder blade squeeze: Sit or stand with your arms at your sides. In the middle of your back, squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you were trying to touch them. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
- Upper trapezius stretch: Sit or stand with your right hand over your head and your right ear close to your right shoulder. Use your left hand to gently pull your head down towards your left shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
- Chin tuck: Sit or stand with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Put your chin on your chest and hold the position for five seconds. Repeat 10 times. By lengthening your neck, this exercise relieves tension in your neck muscles.
- Shoulder roll: Stand with your arms by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. Roll your shoulders 10 times forward, then 10 times backward. Repeat the sequence 2-3 times. You can ease your neck and shoulder tension by performing this exercise.
- Child’s pose: Kneel on the ground with your big toes touching and your knees hip-width apart. Lower your torso down to your thighs and reach your arms forward. Hold for 10-15 breaths. Thus exercise Stretches the spine, hips, thighs, and ankles, thereby relieving tension in the neck, back, and shoulders.
Does it affect everyone, or who does it affect?
Cervical radiculopathy can impact anyone, but it is more prevalent in people over 50 who are at an increased risk of developing degenerative diseases like spinal stenosis or arthritis.
People who have physically demanding jobs or engage in repetitive activities that put stress on the neck are also at a higher risk of developing cervical radiculopathy. Injuries to the neck, such as a car accident or fall, can also increase the risk of developing this condition.
A physical examination, review of the patient’s medical history, and imaging tests can all be used to identify a pinched nerve in the neck (e.g. X-ray, MRI, CT scan). The doctor may also examine the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, and range of motion, and look for any indications of nerve irritation or compression.
Risk factors for developing cervical radiculopathy
Although the primary reasons have been mentioned above, the below classification will help you get a broader idea about some of the risk factors that play a part in developing cervical radiculopathy. It can be caused by various factors, including:
- Age: As we age, the discs in the neck can weaken and bulge, putting pressure on nearby nerves.
- Physical stress: Certain physical activities can increase the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy, such as carrying heavy bags or working in an assembly line.
- Medical conditions: Medical conditions such as arthritis, spinal stenosis, or herniated disc can also increase the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy.
- Poor posture: Poor posture can put unnecessary stress on the neck and increase the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy.
- Genetics: A family history of neck problems can increase the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy.
- Previous injury: Previous neck injuries or spinal cord trauma can increase the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy in the future.
Last but not the least, don’t go for these exercises if you are experiencing severe pain. Even if you are okay doing such exercises, start slow and build up slowly. Plus, please don’t try to do everything at once. Select a handful that you feel comfortable and go with it.
Speak to your doctor. Believe us, he or she knows the best. And the most important thing – have a happy recovery!
Dr. Edward Zelman
Dr. Edward Zelman works as a Neurologist with the expertise of over 15 years, helping more than thousands to get back in complete health through his research-proven treatments. He earned his Masters from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Edward Zelman is one of the notable names in the medical industry for his work in pain management, chronic disorder, and so on. He is also a former faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.
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