A pinched nerve is a spine-related condition in which the nerves get compressed or irritated in the spine. The medical term for a pinched nerve in the neck is cervical radiculopathy. A pinched nerve can occur in any part of the spine; cervical, lumbar, thoracic, etc. This condition occurs due to an injured or inflamed nerve root.
A pinched nerve in the neck: Causes
Excessive pressure or compression on the nerve root or surroundings can result in a pinched nerve. Following are the common causes of a pinched nerve in the neck (cervical radiculopathy):
- Spinal degeneration (cervical spondylosis)
- Cervical herniated disc
Risk factors of a pinched nerve in the neck:
Cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerve in the neck risk factors include:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Bone spurs
- Lying down for prolonged periods of time
- Overuse/repetitive movements
All of these factors can increase the risk of a pinched nerve in the neck.
Symptoms of Pinched nerve in the neck:
- Sharp pain and weakness in the arm
- Shoulder pain
- Numbness in the arm
- Weakness in the shoulder
Exercises for Pinched Nerve in the Neck:
Is walking good for a pinched nerve in the neck?
Sitting in the same position for prolonged periods of time can result in pain. This is why try to walk around your home or workplace as much as you can.
Pinched nerves have several reasons behind them, from wear and tear to arthritis. Due to the pain caused by this condition, various people tend to limit their physical activities. Not being physically active can increase the risk of a pinched nerve.
But don’t worry, below are some of the exercises that you can try to relieve the pain caused due to pinched nerves.
1. Side bends:
This exercise helps reduce the tension in the neck and back muscles. Following are the steps:
- Stand straight on the floor and stretch your hands straight up collapsing them over the head.
- Keep your head and neck straight
- Gently bend to your right from the core and then later to your left
- Note to prevent the body from bending/arching backward and forward.
- Repeat the stretch about 10 times.
2. Shoulder rolls and shrugs:
The tension in the neck can be reduced by moving the shoulders. Moreover, it can also alleviate any headaches associated with pinched nerves. Follow the below-mentioned steps to perform shoulder rolls and shrugs:
- For performing shoulder shrugs, gently move your shoulder up and down.
- Do this for about 30 seconds and then give your shoulders a little rest.
- Then to perform shoulder rolls, roll your shoulders forward and back, pushing the shoulder blades together.
- Repeat this exercise for about 30 seconds as well.
3. Child’s pose:
For pinched nerves, a child pose can be quite beneficial for some people.
- Begin by sitting on your knees with the top of your feet flat on the floor/mat.
- Slowly, lean the body forward until your chest touches/meets the thighs
- Now extend your arms straight in the front and place your hands on the floor
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then gently come back to the initial position.
4. Neck tilts/chin tucks:
This exercise helps stretch the back as well as neck muscles. For doing this stretch, follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Sit or stand in a neutral position for this exercise.
- Gently draw your chin in towards your chest
- You will be able to feel the stretch in the back of the neck
- And slowly lift your head upwards (towards the ceiling) along with extending the chin up and out,
- Repeat this stretch about five to ten times.
5. Head turns:
This exercise aids in restoring the range of motion, however, they can feel a bit difficult the first time around.
- You can sit or stand in a neutral position whatever’s comfortable
- Gently turn your face to your right side, looking over the shoulder
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and come back to the initial position
- Repeat the same head turn on the other side
- Perform this stretch about 10 times
Exercises to avoid with the pinched nerve in the neck:
Performing the following exercises can result in aggravating the pain:
- Barbell squats
Let’s wrap up!
There are several spine, muscles, and joint-related conditions that can lead to neck pain, numbness, and stiffness. If you are experiencing chronic neck pain, consult with a specialist. Treatment for a pinched nerve or at home remedies include:
- Ice or heat therapy
- Adjust your posture
- Perform exercises
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