If you are suffering from a pinched nerve in the neck, you understand just how debilitating the condition can be.
Unfortunately, pinched nerves in the neck are not uncommon, and experts indicate that they affect around 85 in every 100,000 adults each year, most commonly in individuals aged 50 to 54 years old.
What causes a pinched nerve in the neck?
Pinched nerves, which are actually compressed or otherwise damaged nerve roots – the part of the root that branches from the spinal cord – are often the result of a herniated disc. A herniated disc, in turn, typically comes about when the soft disc that sits between the vertebrae of the spine slip out due to a sudden movement, like lifting, twisting, or bending.
In mild cases, the result is a feeling of pins and needles, not unlike the one that you may feel when your foot falls asleep. However, it may also result in radiculopathy, which includes a feeling of numbness, a dull pain, a weakening, or a tingling in the arm, shoulder, or hand.
Though severe cases of herniated disc pain should be brought to the attention of your local chiropractor – like the expert team at Michigan Chiropractic Specialists – more mild cases of a pinched nerve in the neck can benefit from at-home herniated disc treatment, including the following simple stretches.
It is best to start an at-home herniated disc treatment routine with mild stretching exercises in order to prevent further nerve damage and gently relax the agitated nerve.
The following exercises can be completed in both a standing and sitting position.
1. Trap Stretch
If your pinched nerve was caused by an overly tight or sore trapezius muscle, a strap stretch can work to loosen the traps and release the pinched nerve.
First, place your right hand under your upper thigh, palm down. Then, using your left hand, gently pull head toward the left side. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each side.
2. Chin Tuck
A chin tuck works to reduce any excess tension in the neck area through a lengthening stretch.
To start this stretch, place the fingers of either hand on the chin and gently push the chin towards your neck. At this point, it should look like you have a “double chin.” Hold this pose for five seconds, and then relax back to the starting point.
Repeat this motion five times.
3. Chin Tuck/Neck Tilt
To deepen the chin tuck stretch, you can add an extra movement called a neck tilt that increases mobility in a different direction. This stretch should be completed in a seated position, as it may cause dizziness.
First, complete a chin tuck as instructed above. Then, place your fingers under the chin and slowly tilt your head up to the ceiling, stretching the muscles at the throat. Return to a chin tuck and repeat two sets of five repetitions.
4. Head Turn
A head turn is a great stretch for increasing the range of motion in your neck, which is typically hindered by a pinched nerve.
If your range of motion has been compromised, this stretch may feel somewhat uncomfortable at first. For this reason, it is best to complete each rep in a slow, deliberate manner while gradually deepening the stretch rather than starting out too quickly.
Sit or stand facing forward with a straight head and neck. Slowly turn your head to the left, pausing to hold for ten seconds. Then, repeat the motion, turning towards the right and holding for ten seconds.
Similarly, you may also tilt your head to the side or up and down if it is a more advantageous stretch for your pinched nerve, as the location of the pinch will vary from individual to individual.
The team at Michigan Chiropractic Specialists can demonstrate the best pinched nerve stretches and exercises to help you achieve relief for your pinched nerve symptoms fast.
Contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists today to schedule your appointment at one of our Garden City, Waterford, and West Bloomfield locations.