Having a pinched nerve in your neck can prove to be extremely painful. It sometimes makes it difficult to even move your neck at all. You can’t turn your head. You can’t look down. You can’t look up. You are simply stuck in this stiff-neck position. This happens all the time to a number of people. It may be an annoyance now, but just know that this type of thing can usually be resolved in only a few short days.
Definition of a nerve
A nerve is a cord-like structure that carries electrical signals from the body to the brain for sensory recognition and from the brain to the body for motor function.
Definition of a pinched nerve
A pinched nerve is a nerve that has been damaged by compression or pressure and is now unable to properly conduct its signals.
What causes a pinched nerve in your neck?
A pinched nerve in your neck can be caused by a number of things, including:
Experiencing a pinched nerve in your neck is not uncommon. You spine is needed to support weight and provides the full range of motion of your neck. You can get a pinched nerve by something as simple as sleeping in a different position than you normally do or turning your head too quickly. If either of these were the causes, it will most likely be cleared up in a few days time.
If you have a pinched nerve, you may be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms. Most of these symptoms can occur not only in your neck but your shoulders, back, arms, hands, and fingers as well. Basically, your entire upper body could be affected.
- Burning sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Inability to turn head
To treat a pinched nerve, you can try one or more of the following things:
- Cold Pack
- Heat Therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Temporary neck brace
If you have tried all of these possible treatment options and none have worked for you, you can proceed by consulting your doctor. He or she will be able to better find out the root cause of the pinched nerve in your neckand provide you with further treatment options. They will most likely fill a prescription for you for a stronger anti-inflammatory or other medicine. If you take the prescription and that does not work either, you have one other option. If both you and your doctor feel it is right, there are surgery options you can explore.
If a pinched nerve is accompanied by the following things, you will need to seek treatment as it may be a very serious condition.
- Inability to control bladder
- Inability to control bowel
- Trouble having bowel movements
- Trouble urinating
- Loss of sensation in various body parts
- Progressive weakness of various body parts
Stretching and exercise is always a good option to try. Exercise is needed daily to keep your body strong and healthy.
Tips before you stretch
- Apply a heat pack to your neck before stretching. This will warm up your muscles and make it easier to stretch them.
- Apply a cold pack to your neck after stretching. This will reduce inflammation of the muscles.
- Take some tylenol or ibuprofen.
Stretches for a Pinched Nerve in your Neck
- Roll your head around. Put your head forward, roll it to the left and around to the back, then continue to the right until it has reached the forward position again. Now go the opposite way. Start with your head forward, then roll it to the right and around to the back, then keep going to the left until you have reached forward again. You can do several times if it feels comfortable.
- Turn your neck as far as you can to the right. Now turn your neck as far as you can to the left.
- Tilt your head as far as you can toward your right shoulder so your head is sideways. Now do the same thing to the left side.
- Tilt your head back as far as you can. Now tilt your head forward as far as you can.
- Stand against a wall. Keep your head against the wall as you try to push your chin down.
- Lay on your stomach. Put a pillow or rolled up towel under your forehead. Your palms should be facing down. Lift your arms up and point your thumbs upward. Now lift your forehead off the pillow and lean back slightly.
- Sit up with your legs straight out in front of you. Put your hands on your head and slowly push your head forward until your chin is touching your chest. Hold for 15-30 seconds.