What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve, also known as a damaged or compressed nerve, develops when a nerve root is either injured or inflamed. The nerve section of the root is where the nerve branches off from the spinal cord.
It is possible to pinch a nerve in different parts of the spine, including your neck, thoracic, or lumbar spine. A pinched nerve could lead to radiculopathy, a disease of the root of the nerve. Symptoms of this disease can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in your arm. Pinched nerves affect 85 out of 100,000 adults in the United States every year but especially affects middle-aged adults. Pinched nerves are often caused by herniated discs in early middle-aged adults. A herniated disc occurs when one of the soft discs in between the vertebrae of your spine slips out and irritates any nearby nerves. A herniated disc could also come as a result of sudden twisting, lifting, or bending.
Pinched discs become more common the older you get with these irritating discs occurring most often between the ages 50-54. In middle-aged and older people, this slipped disc is often caused by age-related degeneration in the spine. Over time and with age, discs can shrink and shorten, which may cause vertebrae to compress and collide as well as irritate other nearby nerves. Abnormal bone growths may also force the nearby nerves to compress.
A pinched nerve in the neck may not feel very serious, and disguise itself with pain similar to the feeling of pins and needles embedded into your neck. A pinched nerve may also give pain or weakness in one of your shoulders, arms, or hands.
Yes, at times you may have to undergo medical treatment, but if the pain is not too severe then you may be able to pass by with some exercises that will hopefully relieve the pain within a week.
Come in for a session and allow our experienced Delaware physical therapists the chance to relieve your pain.
Trapped or pinched nerve exercises
If you are feeling unsure or are unclear on the exercises listed below, it is important to know that your physical therapists can provide you with expert, specifically recommended exercises.
If the pain is not too severe, then you may be able to relieve the pain with very gentle and slow exercises. These certain movements are focused on stretching muscles in the neck and relieving pressure on the nerve.
If you are cautious about causing any more damage, prevent any more nerve injuries by conducting the exercises carefully and slowly. It is safe to do this either standing up or sitting down.
Your trapezius muscles are one of the many muscles on the back of your neck. If these muscles are too tight, they may compress your spine and its nerves.
- Carefully place your right hand under your thigh
- Use your left hand to gently bend your head to the left
- Pause for about 30 seconds, then repeat 3 times on each side.
This move will improve the posture on your head and neck as well as reduce tension on your neck.
- Place your fingers onto your chin
- Very gently push your chin back into your neck until you feel a “double chin”
- Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax
- Repeat this movement for 3 to 5 times
- Straighten your head and neck, then look straight ahead
- Slowly turn your head to the left for 10 seconds
- Repeat but turn your head to the right
- Tilt your head from up to down as well
- Slowly move your chin down and to your chest
- Pause. Return back to your original position
- Repeat this from 5 - 10 times
- Lift up your shoulder blades, then carefully roll them back and then down
- Repeat this from 5 to 6 times
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
- (Back then Forward)