One of the major issues that people with weak muscles and nerves often have to deal with is the pinched nerve in the neck. This is basically harming the nerve, which can often lead to severe issues if not treated at the right time. If you are aware of a bit of anatomy, you would know that all the branches of the nerve stem from the nerve root.
It is the base from where the nerves of the entire body originate and spread across all the human parts. The neck is surely not the only place where you can get a pinched nerve. It can happen at any place that is connected with the spine. Thus, it means that your lumbar spine, your neck, and even your thoracic is not spare of this problem occurring.
The symptoms associated with the pinched nerve in the neck are quite evident. The major symptom that it comes with is the numbness. Any person encountering this issue starts feeling the numbness of the arms, which at times gets very server. Apart from this, a sharp tingling sensation and weakness of the muscles is also something that is often associated with some of the major symptoms of pinched nerves. In extreme cases, the arms of the person dealing with this problem end up aching badly.
What is a Pinched Nerve in the Neck?
To understand what the pinched nerve of the neck is, one needs to learn the anatomy of the human body really well. The spin of a human is composed of twenty-four vertebrae, along with minor bones that make way for the nerves to prevail.
A nucleus that is located in the middle of the intervertebral disc and vertebra absorbs all the shocks that might affect the muscles. All thanks to them, a person is able to perform his functions without having to deal with any kind of pain in the spine.
However, there are times when the spine of human body may get degenerated. With this degeneration, he would have to feel wear and tear, leading to cervical spondylolysis. This is also known as pinched nerve. Basically, the loss of fluid between these discs makes them stiff.
The problems get prevent when a person ages. With constant usage, the fluid tends to lose its retention, and can no longer act as a cover between the intervertebral disc and vertebra.
Thus, the pressure on the nerve root enhances, leading to the feeling of the pinched nerve in the neck. According to the health reporters, it may occur to the young members of society as well, as, in 100,000 adults, around 85 such cases are usual. Owing to the herniated disc, this issue may appear quite early in life. Extensive lifting or bending may affect the soft disc and may lead to irritating the nearby nerves.
What causes a pinched nerve?
There are many causes of pinched nerves. Some of them are:
1. Excessive pressure:
The major cause of why one ends up having the pinched nerve in the neck is excessive pressure exerted on the tissues that surround the nerves. As the nerves are covered with the tissues, they stay protected from all kinds of harms. However, when these tissues themselves are harmed, the nerves get affected if the pressure is exerted on them.
2. Nerve injury:
The nerves are made of shreds that come together in order to make nerves. While playing a game that requires some great physical exertion, there is a possibility that a person may end up injuring his nerve. This injury may lead to a pinched nerve in the neck.
3. Rheumatoid arthritis:
Another major reason behind the pinched nerve in the neck could be rheumatoid fever. As this fever makes the nerves go weak, the ones in the neck may get affected. Thus, the person suffering from the fever may end up getting pinch nerve in the neck as well.
4. Sports activities:
People who love to play sports that require excessive physical activities, they may end up dealing with this issue quite often. These players, when get involved in the playing for a long period of time, an instant injury or burden may affect the nerves of the neck, leading to the pinched nerve in the neck.
The more fat one has accumulated in his neck, the more are the chances of a pinched nerve in the neck. However, the problem that occurred due to obesity may not be temporary. If a person doesn’t take medical consultation on time, this issue tends to get permanent, causing excessive damage to him. The pressure, with time, escalate to chronic pain and then ends up causing permanent damage to the body.
What does a pinched nerve in the neck feel like?
A pinched nerve in the neck comes with a feeling of tingling sensation. The person suffering from this condition may feel some tingle in the neck, which then further escalates. Once escalated, it converts into numbness.
At this point of time, medical help should be asked for. If not, it may lead to permanent damage to the nerves. With time, the pain may go up, getting sharper and unbearable.
The sufferer may also end up feeling a burning sensation where he has his nerves dealing with the pinch condition. Along with this, the feeling of needles in the neck is one of the major sensations that people suffering from this condition have to go through.
10 Best Treatments for a pinched nerve in the neck
Yoga and stretching:
The easiest possible way to treat the pinched nerve is yoga as well as stretching. The reason why it aids in relieving pinched nerve is the relaxation of the tension that the muscles feel. The area is filled with pressure, which makes it necessary for the patient to stretch, but not too deep. However, if yoga and stretching make one feel pain or discomfort, he should stop doing it immediately, as it may lead to more damages.
Splinting is another way to treat the affected area without going for any kind of treatment from the doctor. By wearing the splint, it is possible for the patient to give separated space to the nerve to heal. By placing the splint on the neck, one can easily treat the pinched neck. Though the patient may feel irritated while sleeping, it will give relief soon by treating the nerve and reducing the intensity of pinch.
Heating or cooling packs:
The heating and cooling packs are also one of the great ways to reduce the intensity of pinched nerve in the neck. By applying these packs on the neck as soon as the pinched nerve is developed, the intensity of swelling is reduced.
By using these packs on the affected area, the pain is relieved owing to the enhancement of the circulation of blood. In case the force of pinch doesn’t reduce, this pack should be applied two to thrice for fifteen minutes a day and it will make the relief easier.
Another way to get rid of the pinched nerve by treating it is by changing the posture. The wrong posture may cause great issues, and one of them is the pinched nerve in the neck.
People who have to sit on their seats for long periods of time in order to work on their personal computers most of the time end up facing the problem of the pinched nerve. In such a situation, it is mandatory to change the posture immediately and sit in comfortable manner.
Opt for a standing workstation:
If using personal computers is what one needs to do for the whole day, the chances of developing pinched nerve enhance to a great deal. It is crucial to make sure that a person has some level of mobility the whole day long, in order to make sure the muscles keep working.
In order to prevent the pinched nerve in the neck, one should opt for a standing workstation to keep the muscles working. Modification of the sitting desk with a standing workstation will aid greatly in keeping the various parts of the human body mobile enough to keep working well.
The most logical option to opt for in order to treat the pinched nerve in the neck is physical therapy. By consulting the medical practitioner or physical therapist, one can opt for some exercises that are specially designed to enhance the strength of the neck and advance the movement.
With the help of these exercises, one is able to make its nerves mobile and limit the freeze. In order to make these exercises work more efficiently, one can utilize them in intervals while applying ice or heat packs. This will not only alleviate the pain but will also work towards strengthening the nerves. Along with this, the constant therapy makes the neck more resilient and resist the pinched nerve for the next time.
It is a known fact that the pinched nerve in the neck is caused by excessive inflammation in the nerves. In such a situation, reducing the inflammation is what one needs to do in order to get rid of this problem. The usage of nonsteroid drugs of anti-inflammation properties is required. For that matter, regular drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin may work well. With two to three dosages, the irritation, as well as the inflammation, subsides.
In case one needs to get rid of this nerve pinch in the neck, the treatment through steroid injection works really well. The inflammation can be reduced quite easily and quickly with the help of these steroid injections.
These injections are injected in the area between laminae and foramen. If not at this place, the injection can be injected in the facet joint as well. The working of these steroid injections is that of reducing the swelling.
As the swelling reduces, the nerve gets the required space to recover. It should be noted here that these steroids do not work towards reducing the pain directly. Rather, they reduce the swelling which eventually leads to alleviating the pain.
If everything else fails, as a last resort, surgery is opted. There are times when no matter how many injections or steroids are taken, one has to go for surgery in order to end this condition. In order to treat the nerve pinch of the neck, surgical treatment may be advised by the doctor by keeping in mind a lot of factors, including the location of the pinched nerve, the intensity of the problem and the availability of other options.
The location of the injury may require a person to opt for a brace that will tighten the affected area. With the help of this brace, he will be able to reduce the mobility of that area.
Once it is immobile, it gets easier for the patient to reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain associated with pinch nerve. It may cause a bit of irritation while sleeping, but once opted, it will help a lot in reducing the internal swelling and will lead to quick relief and treatment.
Exercises to Relieve Pinched Nerve in Neck:
There are a lot of exercises associated with pinched nerve in the neck that can surely aid the patient in getting rid of the problem. Some of them include:
1. Chin tuck:
One of the most effective exercises that can give instant relief from the pinched nerve in the neck is the chin tuck. If done in the right manner and over a period of time, it reduces the pain of the neck and strengthens the muscles.
Along with this, it aids in improving the posture of the patient to a great deal. For this particular exercise, all one needs to do is to put his finger on the chin and push it towards the neck. By doing this, one has to make his chin appear double.
Next, he has to hold it for at least three seconds. In these three seconds, stress should be alleviated and muscles should be relaxed. Repeating this exercise three to dour times will reduce the pain in the neck, effectively. However, consistency is the key. One needs to ensure that he repeats this exercise several times a day and only then he will be able to get rid of it soonest possible.
2. Head turn:
The second most effective exercise that gives relief to the patient when it comes to pinched nerve in the neck is head turn. It is surely much easier and comfortable compared to the chin tuck.
With the help of this exercise, one is able to enhance the motion of the neck that is reduced by the pinched nerve. However, if the pain is intense, one may feel uncomfortable while performing this exercise.
If this is the case, one needs to do it as slow as possible, but it should be continued. Even if the movements are small, doing them constantly will help in the long run. For this exercise, one needs to look ahead while straightening his neck and the head. Once done, he has to turn the head in the right direction and keep it there for around ten seconds.
After then, he has to turn to the left side and stay in that position for around ten seconds. Next, the head should be tilted from one side to the other, as well as from up to down. For this exercise also, consistency is the key. No matter how uncomfortable you feel, you should continue performing it with great regularity, until you feel the pinched nerve getting relief.
3. Shoulder roll:
As the neck is connected to the shoulder, any discomfort in the neck causes a great problem to the shoulder as well. They also get in tension and one has to do something in order to give them relief from this tension.
For that, a simple exercise should roll will provide great advantage to the patient. All he needs to do is to lift the blades of the shoulder up and roll them back. Now, he needs to roll them back a little. Repeating this for around four to five times will relax the muscles a bit. Now, once completed, doing the same action in the opposite direction is required.
A pinched nerve in the neck is a normal condition. However, one needs to find the right cure for it soonest possible, before it elevated to something permanent. For that matter, over the counter medicines, exercises or steroids can be used. If one has opted for exercises or physical therapy, one needs to be consistent in it for the neck pain to end soonest possible.