Ranging from bone spurs to poor posture, a pinched nerve in the neck can be caused due to a number of reasons, such as your lifestyle, or due to accidents, etc. Your body sends warning signals in the form of pain, when you have a pinched nerve. A damaged or pinched nerve may cause temporary or long-lasting problems. A pinched nerve occurs when there is ‘compression’ on a nerve. The pressure may be the result of repetitive motions. Or it may happen from holding your body in one position for long periods, such as keeping elbows bent while sleeping.
It’s important to diagnose the problem and undergo a treatment method for nerve compression to quickly find relief. In some cases, you can’t reverse the damage from a pinched nerve, but the treatment usually relieves pain and other symptoms.
Nerve compression often occurs when the nerve is pressed between tissues such as, ligaments, tendons, and bones. Nerves are most vulnerable at places in your body where they travel through narrow spaces but have little soft tissue to protect them. For instance, pressure or inflammation on a nerve root exiting the spine may cause neck or low back pain. It may also cause pain to radiate from the neck into the shoulder and arm. Nerve compression in your neck or arm may also cause symptoms in areas such as your: elbow, hand, wrist, and fingers. Performing various exercises prescribed by a professional physiotherapist may help recover from a pinched nerve faster.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck:
Sometimes pain may be the only symptom during a nerve compression, or there may be other symptoms without pain. Pain in the area of compression, such as the neck or lower back, or radiating pain, such as sciatica or radicular pain are some of the common symptoms. Numbness or tingling sensation or ‘pins and needles’ or a burning sensation are some other common symptoms which do do include pain. Weakness in performing certain activities is also another symptom. Sometimes symptoms worsen when you try to turn your head in a particular direction or when you strain your neck.
Benefits of Performing Physiotherapy Stretches and Exercises:
Stretches for a pinched nerve in the neck can decrease neck pain, inflammation and stiffness. However, treatment varies depending on the severity and cause of the nerve compression. In many cases, all you need to do is simply rest the injured area and avoid any activities that tend to worsen your symptoms. Stretches increase neck mobility and facilitate everyday activities such as turning your neck to see blind spots while driving, etc. There are various exercises such as neck rolls, head turns, etc. which restores muscle flexibility and range of movement. There are more different types of exercises that are important but they should be performed with the help of a professional physiotherapist. Once they teach you the correct way to perform those exercises, you can do them at your home everyday, to prevent a pinched nerve from recurring.
Undergoing physiotherapy from professional physiotherapists may enable you to stretch and strengthen neck muscles in the most appropriate way. They examine your body and accordingly outline a recovery plan which is specifically for you. Our professional physiotherapists in Edmonton are well versed with all the different types of stretches and exercises that help relieving a pinched nerve in the neck.
The nerves are the messengers of the body. Neural impulses control everything from muscle function to sensation of pain. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that nerve damage can cause paralysis, pain, numbness, muscle weakness, diminished reflexes, and loss of bladder control.
There are various causes for nerve injuries. A bad fall could lead to spinal or brain damage. Muscle cramps and bad posture could cause nerve compression. The peripheral nervous system could be damaged by heat, leading to loss of sensation.
Physical therapy has helped many patients with nerve injuries. It is less dangerous than surgical treatment. The nervous system is a delicate and sophisticated system. It is highly recommended to get your nerve damage diagnosed by a professional physiotherapist.
Let’s see how physiotherapy can help patients with nerve damage.
When the nerve is constricted by the surrounding muscles a condition known as pinched nerve occurs. Patients often suffer from a pinched nerve in the neck due to bad posture. The physiotherapist will educate the patient in postural exercises to help with the pain.
Nerve compression occurs when there is extreme pressure on the nerves. This can be due to spinal injury, herniated disc, or enlarged blood vessels. The root of the nerve is compressed leading to loss of sensation, sometimes paralysis. The patient may show symptoms such as muscle weakness, difficulty moving, and slurred speech.
The physiotherapist may put pressure on certain parts of the patient’s body to help relieve the nerves. Nerve gliding activities allow the nerve to bend easily, allowing them to accommodate themselves better. This is especially useful when the nerves are compressed between the spinal discs.
Damaged Nerve Endings
Nerve endings could be damaged by getting burnt or scraped. This could result in extreme pain felt by the patient. The physiotherapist may use massage therapy as a treatment method, to increase blood circulation and heal the damaged nerve. Massage therapy also releases endorphins in the body and helps with pain reduction.
Nerve injuries can sometimes lead to sphincter muscles relaxing, voiding of the contents of the bowels. Physiotherapy exercises can help with muscle control. These exercises would help the patient regain control of his sphincter or urethral muscles.
Balance and Proprioception
Sensory nerve damage could affect the patient’s sense of balance. Making it difficult to walk or balance properly. This is because the neural impulses received by the brain are flawed. The professional physiotherapist will help the patient regain a sense of balance through vestibular physiotherapy.
Nerve injury can significantly drop the quality of life of patients. Some patients may become so demotivated that they develop suicidal tendencies. The true horror of nerve injury lies in partial or complete paralysis. Get in touch with a professional physiotherapist at physical therapy Edmonton, to learn more about the remedies of nerve injuries.
Burners and stingers are common injuries amongst athletes who play contact or collision sports. The injury is most likely to occur when a sports athlete falls and receives a powerful blow to the neck or the shoulder region. Such an injury could also occur with any accident that creates a sudden type of stretch between the cervical spine and shoulder.
Because of the stinging or burning pain that spreads from the shoulder to the hand, this injury is named as the Burner / Stinger syndrome. The sensation goes like an electric shock down the arm. This syndrome is usually caused due to stretching of brachial plexus or nerve roots.Brachial plexus is a complex of nerves located in the lower neck and shoulder area. Burner or Stinger syndrome is a stretch or compression injury to the brachial plexus.
An athlete should always undergo proper warming-up and cooling-down sessions before and after the game. This helps in preparing the muscles for strenuous activities. Athletes or kids should be taught to recognize and respect signs of injury so that they know when to cease before the pain gets worse. Try to avoid landing directly on your shoulder or neck region after any collision. But even if you accidentally land on your shoulder or neck region, ensure that you distribute your body weight evenly to all parts of your body.
After a few days of injury, the athlete should be restricted from undergoing strenuous exercises that require an extensive use of arms and shoulders. A physiotherapist can provide active assistance for performing neck and shoulder-related exercises. Cervical isometric exercises like flexion, extension, rotation and sidebending are simple exercises to increase strength in the neck muscles.
Neck pain (in the cervical spine) is less common than any sort of back pain (upper or lower back in the lumbar spine). Trauma around the neck area is usually the common cause of neck pain. Neck can be injured by direct blows to the neck or shoulder region, or by gradual strains such as sudden movements or overuse.
Majority series of neck pain generally gets better with time and can be treated with nonsurgical methods. However, there are a few symptoms that indicate immediate medical attention.
Many episodes of neck pain have no identifiable anatomical cause. Certain types of neck pain and arm pain can be linked to a general cause, such as muscle strain or a diagnosable condition such as cervical herniated disc or cervical stenosis. There are various types of neck pain that you should be aware of:
Acute neck pain:
Due to muscle strain or other soft tissue sprain (of your neck muscles; ligaments or tendons) you may be tormented with acute neck pain. Sudden force resulting from car accident or from straining the neck (having a stiff neck) from sleeping in the wrong position or carrying something heavy inappropriately.
With a good supply of the necessary nutrients and proteins, most minor injuries to the soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles in the neck usually heal with time. Nonsurgical care such as ice or heat medications, physical therapy, osteopathic manipulations can help attenuate neck pain while it is healing. Immobilize your neck for acute injury.
Neck pain that radiates down the arm:
Neck pain that radiates down the arm, and possibly into hands and fingers, is frequently caused by a cervical herniated disc or foraminal stenosis pinching a nerve in the neck. Pain may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms and / or hands.
Commonly, the symptoms are temporary and can be treated successfully nonsurgically with proper care, such as through physical therapy, manipulation or medication.
Neck pain that is related to certain activities or positions:
Neck pain that develops slowly over a number of years tends to occur during or after certain activities or neck positions, frequently caused by cervical foraminal stenosis.
Such kind of cervical stenosis is caused by aging related changes in the joints of the neck (facet joints) or at the margins of the discs. These changes can be diagnosed either by an MRI scan or a CT scan with a myelogram.
Treatment for stenosis, as with a herniated disc is medical care, which includes therapy exercise, medication, etc.
Fluctuating neck pain that may persist for more than a few months:
Certain activities or positions may worsen neck pain that is often characterized by a low level of chronic pain that sometimes flickers. This may be accompanied by arm pain and may indicate symptomatic cervical disc degeneration.
Cervical disc degeneration is pervasive in humans, however symptoms are less common and often short-lived. Symptoms are often proportional to the person's activity; the more the shoulders, arms and neck are used, the more they hurt.
Maintaining good strength and conditioning program for your neck, you may be able to prevent neck related problems. However, you should seek professional help if your neck pain becomes too persistent and keeps emerging occasionally. Visiting a physiotherapist on a regular basis helps you understand your body and stay fit.
Anyone constantly plagued by chronic neck pain knows that it is more than just an annoyance. . Like every other chronic pain, the chances are that your neck pain has been caused by your lifestyle. The way you carry your bag, your posture and even your walking style can contribute to your neck pain.
We may use the neck to only move our head, but its muscles are connected with the rest of our body. This means a strain on your shoulder, arm or spine can easily affect your neck muscles.
The Screen Staring
Whether you are at office or home staring at your computer or television screen, your posture makes a difference. A number of studies have found that the longer a person sits in front of a screen, the more the back, shoulder and neck pain.
Do not sit at the screen for too long. Get up, take a short walk and then sit back. Additionally, keep flexing your body to prevent stiffness.
Carrying Your Bag
Whether it is a backpack, a small carry bag or purse, its weight and how you carry it matters. In general, try to keep your bag light. If the bag is heavy, make sure it has straps on the shoulders so you can evenly distribute the weight.
The worst thing to do is to carry the bag on one shoulder, especially when you can two-strap it. Using one strap misaligns your body.
Taking a Drive
If you have a car, you probably use it a lot to commute to work and social functions. Those long times you spend in the car can be the cause of your pain. Once again, it largely depends on your posture.
- Don't slouch on the seat
- Adjust the seat so that you're seated comfortably
- If it is a long distance drive, don't strain yourself. Take breaks and stretch yourself
Picking up the Phone
If you are someone who is constantly on the phone making long calls, then you are definitely straining your neck. Long phone calls can lead to holding the phone by the crook of your neck between your head and shoulder. That's the worst thing you could so, as it's such an obvious strain on your neck muscles.
Either get a Bluetooth headset or use the speakerphone - talking for hours over the phone will be much easier.
The reason for your stiff or frozen neck could just be your sleep posture. Never sleep on your stomach as it just makes things awkward for your neck and head. The best position would be to sleep on is your side.
Also, have a pillow that is comfortable. You don't want one that is too high, plump or hard.
Physical therapy will offer relief for your neck pain, but if you really want to completely stop it from recurring... change your lifestyle!