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How to Fix a Pinched Nerve in The Neck

How to Fix a Pinched Nerve in The Neck

Do you experience any tingling, numbness, or pain in your neck? Do you feel any pins-and-needles sensations on your nape?

If you have any of these pinched nerve symptoms, you might have a pinched nerve in your neck.


What is a pinched nerve?

Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a "pinched nerve," can develop in your neck when nerve roots are injured or inflamed.

Every year, approximately 85 out of every 100,000 adults in the United States are affected by a pinched spinal nerve. In early middle-aged adults, it is usually caused by a herniated disc leading to nerve compression.

A herniated disc happens when the cushion-like disks between your vertebrae slip out of place or become damaged and press on your nerves.

This neck pain is often caused by sudden lifting, twisting, or bending. Pinched nerves may run through your shoulders and arms.


Signs That You Have a Pinched Nerve

The signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve are the following:

  • Sharp, aching, and/or burning pain in the arms and shoulders
  • Tingling, pins and needles sensations
  • Worsened pain when moving your neck or turning your head
  • Muscle weakness, especially with certain activities

There are many other symptoms of nerve compression. If you experience common symptoms such as hand weakness, sharp pain, arm pain, difficulty with certain movements, or any other signs of nerve irritation, contact your doctor. Cervical radiculopathy may require serious medical attention if left untreated.

Peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that therapeutic exercises provide relief and prevent further aggravation of the injury. Learn some of the exercises physical therapists use to relieve pressure and fix a pinched nerve in the neck.


How to Fix a Pinched Nerve in Neck: Treatment Options

Treatment options for nerve root pain caused by herniated disk can include steroid injections, oral corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and reduce swelling. Surgical treatments may be needed in some cases. These will require imaging tests, such as a ct scan.

However, there are other treatments available as well. Non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive options can also reduce pain, improve symptoms, and address root causes of cervical radiculopathy.

Massage therapy can relax and relieve the body's soft tissues, while physical therapy rehabilitation exercises can address the problems stressing the affected nerve. Therapeutic exercises involve stretches and strengthening exercises. Not only does this relieve pressure on the pinched nerve, but it also improves mobility.


Benefits of Therapeutic Exercises

By identifying the sources of pain and addressing the structural and mechanical contributors, comprehensive therapeutic exercises can achieve the following benefits:

Improved mobility — With active and passive stretches, movement training, soft tissue mobilization, and joint mobilization, therapeutic exercises can help reduce painful movements and increase range of motion.

Stronger neck — Our neck muscles play a crucial role in supporting the upper spine and head. Therapeutic strengthening exercises can improve posture and evenly distribute pressure throughout the neck.

Decreased muscle tension — By using manual therapy, your physical therapist can relax tense muscles and soft tissue, which are common sources of neck pain.

Relief from nerve compression — Neck pain is often related to a pinched nerve in the upper spine. By working on posture and mechanics, therapeutic exercises can help elongate the spine and reduce pressure on nerve tissue.


Therapeutic Exercises to Relieve a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Pinched nerves occur when a nerve is compressed by a bone or soft tissue. The nerves in the spinal area are more prone to being pinched because of the compact nature of the spinal canal.

When a nerve is tweaked, there will be localized pain, and in other cases, the pain will spread to the other parts of the body. This is why exercises to relieve a pinched nerve in the neck are so important.

In some cases, people who experience a pinched nerve can find relief by simply resting the sore area. However, in some cases, a physician may recommend a non-surgical treatment plan to manage the symptoms.

In severe cases, treatments may include physical therapy, which is usually successful in bringing relief to those experiencing chronic pain and discomfort.

Exercise is a great way to address the pain associated with a pinched nerve.

Since your neck is a part of your spine, exercises that stretch and strengthen your spine and core muscles will help relieve pain caused by a pinched nerve in your neck. These therapeutic exercises focus on slow, small movements that engage the core.

Below, you will find 6 exercises you can do for pinched nerve treatment:


Chair Stand

The chair stand exercise helps work the core. It involves standing up and sitting back down in slow, controlled motions:

  1. Sit down in a comfortable chair.
  2. Keep your feet together and position them flat on the floor.
  3. Place your hands on your thighs.
  4. Sit up straight and engage your core muscles.
  5. Take a deep inhale and exhale as you stand up slowly.
  6. Sit back down slowly.
  7. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
How to Fix a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Single-Leg Raise

Here's another simple exercise to strengthen your core while using a chair:

  1. Sit down in a comfortable chair.
  2. Keep your feet together and position them flat on the floor.
  3. Place your hands on your thighs.
  4. Engage your core muscles.
  5. Take a deep inhale and exhale as you lift one leg as high as you can.
  6. Lower your leg slowly.
  7. Repeat up to 8 to 10 times for each leg.


Staggered Chair Stand

This is similar to the chair stand exercise, but with staggered feet to work on your balance more:

  1. Sit down in a comfortable chair.
  2. Place your feet a few inches apart, stagger them by moving one foot forward, and position them flat on the floor.
  3. Place your hands on your thighs.
  4. Engage your core muscles.
  5. Take a deep inhale and then exhale as you stand up slowly.
  6. Sit down in a slow, controlled motion.
  7. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
  8. Repeat after staggering your feet the other way.


Heel Raise

The heel raise exercise improves balance and posture to help prevent neck pain:

  1. While standing straight behind a chair, hold the back with your feet hip-width apart and your weight evenly distributed.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
  3. Lift on your toes until you're standing on the balls of your feet. Do not let your ankles roll inward or outward.
  4. Lower your heels to the floor slowly.
  5. Repeat 8 to 10 times.


Standing Side Leg Lift

The standing side leg lift exercise is another way to engage your core with the help of a chair:

  1. While standing straight behind a chair, hold onto the chair back for support.
  2. Engage your core muscles.
  3. Take a deep inhale and exhale as you slowly raise one leg out to the side as far as you comfortably can.
  4. Make sure your toes remain pointing forward.
  5. Repeat this 8 to 10 times with each leg.


Front Plank on Table

The front plank on table exercise requires a table or counter to get into a plank position:

  1. While standing with your feet together, face a sturdy table or counter.
  2. Bend and position your forearms on the table with your hands clasped together.
  3. Keep your shoulders aligned directly above your elbows.
  4. Step on the balls of your feet until your body forms a line, just like a plank.
  5. Hold for up to 15 to 60 seconds or as long as you can.

Try these therapeutic exercises and test how they feel for you. Treatment for a pinched nerve in the neck is not a "no pain, no gain" situation, and you should listen to what your body is telling you while you're doing these exercises.

If you start performing these exercises and your symptoms worsen, they are not the solution, and we highly recommend you see your physical therapist for further diagnosis.

Exercise can provide temporary relief from pain, but it may not be a viable long-term solution depending upon how severe your condition is. Leaving a pinched nerve untreated can result in more serious complications for your health and wellbeing.


How to Prevent a Pinched Nerve

Although pinched nerves are related to age-related degeneration of the spinal cord, you can still adjust your routine to prevent neck injuries.

Here are some tips to prevent it:

  • Practice good posture, especially when sitting or working on a computer
  • Take frequent breaks and avoid long periods of working in one position
  • Sleep on a comfortable bed and pillow
  • Exercise regularly to maintain loose and flexible joints
  • Wear a seatbelt when you travel in a car
  • Avoid diving into shallow water
  • Wear suitable protective gear when exercising and doing any sports activities

If you experience severe pain or any of the following symptoms, call a healthcare provider immediately:

  • Sudden numbness, weakness, and/or paralysis of your arms or legs that didn’t disappear after some time
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Loss of genital and/or anal regions sensations

These are signs of more serious conditions, and you may need to undergo surgery to prevent further nerve damage.


Where to Get Help in Tampa

If you’re experiencing pain from pinched nerves and are seeking treatment, get help from our doctors at Palm Wellness Center. Schedule your appointment by calling (813) 443-5370 or visit our website at www.palmwellness.center.

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