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.

Text neck is a condition that develops as a result of holding the head forward and downward for prolonged periods. Many individuals adopt this posture when using their laptops, tablets, mobile devices and other such devices. Text neck develops after the constant misalignment of the neck’s natural position, which increases the weight of the head. Severe injury may lead to permanent damage of the cervical spine, which develops into chronic back pain later in life.

What Causes the Text Neck Condition?

Usually, the body has an upright posture that allows the eyes to be aligned at the centre of the shoulders. This natural position ensures that the neck muscles hold the weight of the head (usually 10-12 lbs) without exerting excessive pressure. However, when the head is tilted forward (even by an inch) its weight increases significantly, causing text neck because the neck has to support six times the normal force. It explains why people who have an untreated text neck condition develop inflammation of the neck ligaments, increased spin curvature and nerve irritations.

Symptoms of Text Neck

The condition often causes soreness and neck pain. Individuals may also experience:

• Instant upper back pain; it can be nagging, chronic and severe sometimes causing muscle spasms
• Tightness and shoulder pain, which develops into painful shoulder muscle spasms
• Constant or intermittent headache that is worsened when you look down
• Increased spin curvature

Text Neck Pain Treatment

People who experience any of these symptoms should consult a chiropractor to find out if the issues are attributed to text neck syndrome. Treatment depends on an individual’s symptoms and the length of time the patient has been experiencing the symptoms. Chiropractors emphasise on using physical exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles to alleviate the problem. Here are some exercises they may recommend:

Downward-Facing Dog

This exercise is ideal for opening up the shoulders and anterior chest wall, which tightens as a result of this syndrome. The pose works on the upper part of the body to strengthen the shoulder muscles. If you are performing this exercise as part of your workout regimen, consider pulling your shoulder blades downwards to create space around the neck area.

Bow Pose

This posture is suitable for individuals who have slumped shoulders. It opens the shoulders from the front part and strengthens the back muscles. To achieve a perfect bow pose, lift the heels high while keeping the tailbone pressed against the mat.

The Chin Tuck

It is a straightforward exercise you can perform from your working stations. The stretch enhances spinal awareness and strengthens the neck muscles to help the patient realign his head.

The Cat-Cow

Chiropractors recommend this exercise to strengthen spinal awareness. The pelvis and the core are actively involved when performing this exercise. When breathing in, you create a tilt in the pelvis while the tailbone faces upwards. Breathing out creates a posterior tilt, making the tailbone turn downwards.

The Exaggerated Nod

This posture counterbalances the forward and downward position of the head by pulling the shoulders downwards and backwards. It also improves neck mobility.

3456754321Neck pain is a frequent complaint and ranks right up with headache, backache, and toothache as one of the most troublesome sources of pain.  Most people experience neck pain at some time or another.  Perhaps after a long day at work, bent over a desk, in front of a computer, or maybe after a particularly stressful time during which you were unable to relax your muscles.  The pain could be dull or sharp, gradual or more sudden.  Perhaps you’ve been ignoring minor neck pain for a little while, hoping it will go away, but it only gets worse.  Neck pain can interfere with your ability to function, to focus, or to enjoy many activities.

Neck pain can have any of a number of causes, but most cases fall into one of three categories:

  • Normal Wear – The typical modern lifestyle can be a huge factor in neck pain. Many of us spend hours every day behind a desk, looking down or at a computer, often forgetting to take breaks to stretch.  This position places enormous strain on the neck.  Poor posture and gaining weight can exaggerate the problem.
  • Aging – Degenerative diseases such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can affect younger people, but are primarily seen in the elderly. As we age, our cartilage and the discs between the vertebrae begin to deteriorate and lose elasticity.  This can lead to pain and lack of mobility.
  • Injury – Athletes, especially those who play high impact contact sports such as football, are at particularly high risk of neck injury. Neck injury is also a common injury in car crashes, particularly rear end collisions.

Many people try to self medicate with over the counter pain relievers, but this only serves to mask the pain, while the underlying cause only gets worse.  In a few hours, the pain returns and more medication is needed.  Medication is great for short term relief, but can cause liver damage if used long term.  Chiropractic care is a drug-free, noninvasive method of treating pain, whether in the neck or other areas.  Chiropractic seeks to locate and treat the underlying cause of pain to provide long-lasting relief.

Chiropractors are trained to adjust the body in ways that restore balance and mobility.  Your chiropractor will use his or her hands to apply gentle pressure to specific joints to improve your range of motion and ease pain.  He or she may also use massage to loosen the muscles in the surrounding area to prevent tension from causing the problem to return.  You may also be given some stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home to help improve your posture and prevent pain from returning.

Chiropractic is a highly effective method of treating most pain, but is not appropriate for all situations.  If your neck pain is accompanied by high fever, sensitivity to light, nausea, you may have meningitis or another serious infection.  If you have any of these symptoms, you need to go to the hospital for immediate medical care.  If your initial assessment shows your neck pain may be caused by a spinal cord injury, your chiropractor will refer you to a specialist.  If your pain is caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, or certain other conditions, your chiropractor may work in cooperation with your general practice doctor to manage your pain.

You don’t have to live with neck pain, contact Spine Scan now on (08) 9221 0402 to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you get your life back.