Neck nerve pain relief exercises could be a solution if you have pain in your neck that presents as pain, numbness, or tingling in your shoulder, arm, or hand. The cause could be a pinched nerve in your neck.
WHAT IS A PINCHED NERVE?
Your nerves start in your brain, run down your spinal cord, and exit at different “levels” in your spine. They then run down your arms or legs to innervate the muscles and/or the sensation in a specific area. The nerves that leave your neck are responsible for the muscle activity and sensation in your shoulders, arms, and hands. If any structure irritates (i.e. takes up space that it shouldn’t) the nerve in your neck the result can be numbness, tingling, and/or pain that can radiate down into your arm and sometimes all the way to your hand. This is what we would call a “pinched nerve” in your neck. Unfortunately this problem can be very debilitating. Fortunately there’s a lot that physical therapy and the right stretches/exercises can do to alleviate this pain. DISCLAIMER: If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling down into your arm or hand, I strongly encourage you to go get it checked out by a local doctor or physical therapist. The exercises I present in this video are very general and may of may not be indicated for your specific problem. You are encouraged to seek local help from a professional who can recommend treatment specific to your individual needs.
CENTRALIZATION VS PERIPHERALIZATION
Our goal is to get your pain/numbness/tingling up out of your arm/hand and into your neck. This idea of radiating pain that is localized to one specific area through exercise/movement is known as “centralization”. This is the goal with treating radiating symptoms. If any of these exercises cause your symptoms to decrease in your arm then that’s an indication that they’re effective for your condition. If, however, any exercise or motion causes the pain/numbness/tingling to increase or to shoot further down your arm, then that’s a sign we’re irritating the nerve even more and the exercise is not effective for your specific condition.
► Use this video to thoroughly warm up your neck and shoulders
WHAT CAUSES NECK PAIN? WHY IS MY ARM NUMB AND TINGLING?
In most cases, neck pain with radicular symptoms (symptoms down into your shoulder, arm, hand) are caused by two conditions – a bulged disc or disc degeneration.
BULGED DISC: Your vertebra are separated by soft tissue structures called “vertebral discs”. A bulged disc is when the “inner disc” material bulges out into the “outer disc” material. If this bulge happens in an area where your nerves exit your spinal cord it can irritate the nerve and elicit symptoms of a “pinched neck nerve”.
DEGENERATIVE DISC: Over the years, your discs lose some of their height. This condition is known as “degeneration”. This loss in disc height results in a smaller space for the nerve to exit our spinal column. If the nerve starts to get irritated because of this tighter space it can result in numbness/tingling/pain down your arm and even into your hand. The goal of the exercises presented in this video is to correct the problems that cause irritation to your neck nerve. We need to promote activities that “open up” the vertebrae in your neck to create more space for the nerve to pass through. This results in decreased pain in your neck and decreased symptoms down into your arm.
Numbness, tingling, and pain in your arm or hand can be a major problem. Fortunately, there’s a lot that the right stretches and exercises can do to help alleviate this pain. Follow along with these exercises and perform them consistently and you should start to experience some relief to your symptoms. My recommendation is to perform them 1-2 times a day and repeat for 4-6 weeks until your symptoms (hopefully) resolve.