The nervous system is the information highway of the human body. It consists of a vast, intricate network of nerves, culminating in the spinal cord and leading to the brain.
Any impediment in this system disrupts the smooth flow of information and can give rise to bodily discomfort. The most common ailment in the nervous system is the compression of the nerve, which is very painful and irritating.
A pinched nerve in the neck is also very painful and can restrict the normal neck movement. Though not a very serious issue, if the pain is mild or moderate. You can resolve it by medication or physical therapy such as pinched nerve neck exercises. The use of Neck relief devices to manage neck pain is also widespread.
How does the pinched nerve feel?
The part of the spine which passes through the neck is known as the cervical spine, which consists of seven vertebra and intervertebral soft discs. The spinal cord passes through this arrangement of bony structure, and the root nerves branch out of it, through an opening (called foramen) in the vertebra.
Irritation and pinching (compression) of these nerve branches are known as ‘Cervical Radiculopathy.’
It can result in:
- Pain in the neck, along with shoulder pain which can be mild to severe.
- In some cases, the pain may radiate along the median nerve to the shoulder and arm too.
- The range of motion of the neck may get severely restricted because of neck cramps.
- Stiffness of the neck may manifest, and movement of the neck results in sharp shooting pain.
- Numbness of the neck.
- The neck muscles may feel very weak.
- There can be a perceptible burning sensation in the neck.
- When the pain radiates to shoulder and arms, you will experiences sensation of pins and needle pricks or tingling on the hands and fingers.
How does it affect your daily life?
The neck pinched nerve condition severely affects your daily routine.
- You may experience difficulty in holding your neck in place to do your work.
- Lifting of any weights, even your office bag, may become challenging.
- The continuous pain will hamper your concentration and make you irritated.
- Your cognitive abilities may dip.
- You would not be able to walk with ease.
- Driving a car or operating any machinery/equipment would become challenging, and for safety reasons should not be attempted.
- If ignored, it can result in severe consequences.
The pinched neck nerve generally is not a very serious issue and can be resolved with over the counter medication and physical therapy.
Simple and practical exercises to relieve pinched neck nerve pain
It is advisable to perform pinched nerve neck exercise, relax it, and help the nerve decompress. You can do the following exercises on your own.
All the neck exercises should be done very slowly, without any jerks or sudden motion. Do not overstretch yourself or try to overexert your muscles.
The trapezius muscle is a significant muscle that connects the neck, shoulder, and back and plays a vital role in the movement of the neck and shoulder. A tight trapezius muscle may compress the nerve and spine. This exercise releases the irritated nerves by loosening the muscles.
- Sit down comfortably on the chair with your back straight (not stretched or tense).
- Put your right hand under the right thigh and hold it there.
- Take your left hand over your head and rest it on the right side (right temple) of the head.
- Gently pull your head towards the left, moving your neck sideways.
- Take it as far as it can go comfortably and hold it there for a count of 30.
- Gradually bring it back to the original position.
- Repeat three times on one side.
- Do this on the other side of the head for at least three times.
- Sit relaxed for a few minutes.
- Throughout the exercise, breath relaxed and normally. Do not hold your breath anywhere.
This neck exercise for pinched nerves attempts to length your neck muscle and hence release the pressure on the nerves.
- Sit down on a chair.
- Be relaxed and breathe usually.
- With your right-hand fingers on the chin, gently push it back towards the neck to form a double chin and hold there for a count of five.
- Repeat it about five times.
- Try doing it without the aid of fingers.
- Sit relaxed for a few minutes.
It is an excellent pinched nerve neck exercise to increase the range of motion of your neck. It reduces stiffness relaxes the neck muscle too.
- Do it sitting comfortably on the chair.
- Hold your neck straight (not tensed) and look ahead.
- Slowly move your head to the right as far as it can go.
- Hold it there for a count of 10 -12.
- Slowly return to look ahead straight.
- Now move your head very gradually to the left side as far as it can go.
- Hold for a count of 10- 12 there.
- Gradually return to look ahead straight.
- Repeat it five to six times.
- Additionally, move your head slowly up and down three to five times.
Along with the neck, the shoulder also relaxes, when you perform this shoulder neck exercise for pinched nerves.
- For best results, do this exercise standing. Stand relaxed on both feet.
- Gradually lift both shoulders, with your hands relaxed, touching the side of your body.
- Once you have reached the maximum height, very slowly push your shoulders back, keeping your back straight and slowly get back to starting position.
- Do this roll five/six times.
- You can do this exercise with the shoulder rolling on the front side (taking to the front) also for five/six times.
- It also works on shoulder pain.
Doing these exercises for a couple of days should bring great relief. Marked improvement in the range of motion and reduction of pain will result.
The pinched neck nerve can be a disruption in your healthy life. But with proper understanding and careful remedial physical therapies, you can be back on track pretty fast. Just in case the neck pain persists or worsens, get yourself checked by a doctor.