Undoubtedly, no single individual wants to experience the pain that comes with a pinched nerve. But, precisely what does a pinched nerve mean?

A pinched nerve in the neck, cervical radiculopathy in medical terms, refers to an irritated or damaged nerve. This medical condition occurs if a nerve is inflamed or injured where it branches out from the spinal cord.

A pinched nerve can result in pain radiating through your arm, shoulder and can also cause muscle fatigue. It is common in older individuals as our spines undergo wear and tear as we age. A pinched nerve is not common in young people, although it can occur if one suffers a sudden injury resulting in a herniated disc.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck
So, how do you know you are suffering from a pinched nerve in the neck? Here is a list of symptoms you may experience when suffering from a pinched nerve.

  • Pain – A compressed or injured nerve can cause pain around the neck area. Sometimes, a painful sensation may be the only symptom. However, you may experience other symptoms without any pain.
  • Radiating pain through your arm and or your shoulder
  • Tingling or numbness
  • A burning sensation, often referred to as ‘pins and needles
  • Weakness and muscle fatigue when performing certain activities

With a pinched nerve, the symptoms tend to worsen when you turn your head or strain your neck.

Risk Factors for a Pinched Nerve
These are some of the factors that increase the risk of a pinched nerve.

  • Disc abnormalities – Abnormalities such as herniated or bulging discs in your spine can lead to additional stress on the nerve roots.
  • Poor body posture – General poor body position or posture such sitting with your back bent can lead to spine injury.
  • Traumatic injury – Traumatic incidences such as car crash or a fall can cause spine injuries that can lead to nerve injury or irritation.
  • Weight gain – Weight gain can increase the risk of a pinched nerve as it puts additional stress on your spine and joints.
  • Pregnancy – A pregnant woman is at a higher risk for developing a pinched nerve as pregnancy increase water retention and weight, which can put extra pressure on their spines.

Exercises to Relieve a Pinched Nerve
The length of time it takes for symptoms to disappear varies from person to person. If symptoms are severe and persist for long, you may need to seek medical attention. However, you can perform simple exercises for a pinched nerve in the neck if the symptoms are mild.

These exercises focus on stretching neck muscles to alleviate pain by reducing pressure on the nerves.

Chin Tuck
The ‘chin tuck’ exercise lengthens your neck to reduce tension on your nerves. Here is how to perform the exercise.

  • Hold your chin and gently push it towards you neck
  • Hold the position for about five seconds and release to relax
  • Repeat the exercise for at least three rounds

Head Turn
Your neck’s range of motion can slightly reduce due to pain that accompanies a pinched neck. The ‘head turn’ exercise can help lessen the tension. Here is how to perform the exercise.

  • Straighten your head and look ahead
  • Slowly turn your head to the left and hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat the procedure to the left and hold for 10 seconds

You can repeat the procedure for about five rounds while incorporating up and down movements.

There are plenty of other exercises, including neck bend and shoulder roll, that can help alleviate the pain that comes with a pinched nerve. However, these are the top on the list. It is essential to seek medical attention if you have persistent and severe pinched nerve symptoms.

bpBack pain, according to statistics, is something that 80% of us will experience some time in our lives and is one of the most common reasons why patients visit their Winchester Chiropractor, Max Atkinson.

Dr. Atkinson (DC) says that preventing back pain from recurring is a major concern for many of his patients. Wanting to be able to continue with sporting activities, doing day to day jobs like gardening and DIY and being able to work pain-free in a job which involves repetitive movements are all reasons why so many elect for regular ‘wellness visits’. In addition to gentle Chiropractic adjustments, he provides information and guidance on the key things that patients can do to protect their backs and help to prevent further episodes of pain.

Worries about the problem getting worse as time goes on are unsurprising as for most people who have had a back injury the risk of recurrence is high. If you are presently suffering from back pain or have had a problem and want to do all you can to stop it from happening again, call your Winchester Chiropractor, Dr. of Chiropractic, Max Atkinson on 01962 861188 to arrange an appointment.

Meanwhile, here are some top tips you can use to protect your back!

  1. First and foremost, remember that pain is a warning sign. If something you are doing hurts, stop right away! Do not try to work through it or see if it eases off and definitely do not take painkillers to dull the pain so that you can carry on. These medications only mask the symptoms so you could be causing more damage without realising.
  2. Injuries during lifting or carrying weight are a common cause of back injury. Your employer should provide health and safety training on preventing back injury if your job involves lifting. If you have not received workplace training, ask for it! Your Chiropractor can also provide advice on preventing back pain when lifting as part of the overall package of Chiropractic care.
  3. Take regular exercise. Classes that help with flexibility and core strength are invaluable but it is important to stress that you should discuss any back problems you have with the person taking the class. This is vital as a good tutor will be knowledgeable enough to suggest alternatives or modifications to some movements so you can go on exercising safely. It is also important to do the same kind of warm up and cool down exercises you would do at the gym or exercise class before and after tackling jobs at home such as digging, or home maintenance.
  4. Choose your furniture carefully. In your seating areas, choose furniture that allows you to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and a supported back (make sure your workplace chair is ergonomically designed and adjusted for you). For sleeping, choose a bed with a mattress that supports your spine and a pillow that supports your neck. The ideal sleeping position keeps the spine in alignment. Laying on your side is better than on your tummy as this is the position worst for your spine!
  5. Avoid sitting for long periods. Prolonged sitting at a workstation or slouched on the couch in front of the TV weakens muscles. Remind yourself to get up, even if only for a minute, every twenty minutes or so at work and during TV commercials at home!

If you have concerns, see your Chiropractor. Life cannot stop because you are worried about a painful back injury recurring. Long-term back pain conditions can make life a misery but many can benefit from Chiropractic adjustments and the diet, lifestyle, exercise and posture advice your Chiropractor can give. So call him today, his help with preventing back pain from striking again, will enable you to get back to the activities you enjoy, worry-free.