Trapped Nerve Neck

Sudden pain in the neck, neck twinge, neck is stuck, radiating pain into the shoulders, wryneck – all of these after you wake up and got out of bed, or probably in the shower. Sounds very familiar, right? These are some of the most common complaints of people who are experiencing neck pain due to a trapped nerve.

Understanding Trapped Nerve in the Neck

There are different causes of pain in the neck – most common would be a trapped nerve in neck and shoulder. Lifting heavy objects, doing repetitive activities, trauma or injury, poor posture, and sleeping in the wrong position are some of the few factors that could cause a trapped neck nerve. Such factors put too much pressure on the nerves, causing it to compress or become trapped, making it unable to efficiently send or receive messages from the brain to the body.

A trapped nerve in neck is usually not painful. A simple pressure only causes numbness but not exactly pain; not unless the tissue around the nerve has become inflamed that it affects the nerve itself, causing nerve inflammation and swelling. So, it’s actually the inflamed tissue that affected the trapped nerve that causes neck pain.

Trapped Nerve Neck Symptoms

Symptoms of a trapped nerve in the neck usually depend on various factors depending on the severeness of compression.  The following are the most common trapped nerve in neck symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in the shoulders and arms
  • Pins and needles pain
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Occasional burning sensation

Trapped Nerve Neck Treatment

Inflammation and pain due to nerve trapped in neck can successfully be managed by various techniques. In most cases, rest and ice is already enough. But there are people who don’t want to take risks and would rather search for treatment for trapped nerve in neck such as the following:

  • Medication – Different anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen reduces swelling around the affected nerve, thus reducing the pain.
  • Physical Therapy – Helps in stretching and strengthening muscles in the body to somehow decrease the pressure on the trapped nerve.
  • Surgery – If nothing else works, and additional muscle weakness has been developed, surgery may probably be recommended. This technique removes portions of bone spurs that compress the nerve in the spine.

Chiropractors can also provide an effective trapped nerve in neck treatment. They are trained to relieve pressure from the nerve by manual manipulations of vertebrae to position them back to their proper places.

There are various causes for your neck to incur trapped nerve. So, it’s very important to first identify its cause, treat it, and then find some ways that would reduce your chance of getting trapped nerve again. Physical activity such an exercise can greatly help in strengthening your neck muscle as well as your upper back, thus preventing it from coming back.

Exercise for Trapped Nerve in Neck

We all know how important exercise is for our long-term health. It not just reduces your risk of developing many different diseases, it also improve your immune system to help you fight infections. With regard to neck pain, exercise is considered as another treatment for a trapped nerve in the neck. Because it increases range of motion of joints, and muscular strength, movements will be improved, with less pain and less stiffness.

There are two types of exercises for your neck. One is to strengthen your neck muscles to help make your neck stronger; and the other one is stretching exercises for trapped nerve in neck. In strengthening exercises, neck muscles gains strength and become flexible, making it able to handle pressure in the future, while with stretching exercise, stiffness and pain are reduced, thus relieving pain and achieving other goals such as the following:

  • Increase mobility
  • Improve flexibility
  • Stretch neck muscles
  • Restore or Increase neck range of motion
  • Reduce neck stiffness
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Prevent neck pain

Stretching is an effective trapped nerve in neck exercise. By slowly, carefully, and correctly doing neck stretches up to the point when you can already feel the stretch, movements without feeling any pain or stiffness is possible even without taking pain medications. The following are useful yet easy to do trapped nerve in neck exercises:

Range of Motion Exercise – Lateral flexion

  • Keep your neck, shoulders, and trunk straight while sitting in a chair.
  • Slowly tilt your head to the left shoulder, then to the right, up to the point of pain. (Don’t raise shoulders towards head or rotate head while tilting)
  • Relax and then repeat exercise.

Stretching Exercise – Levator scapulae

  • While sitting in a chair, place hands behind your head, gently move chin to the chest, and then slowly turn towards the right.
  • Hold for ten seconds, and then relax afterwards.
  • Repeat same action for the left side.
  • Relax and then repeat exercise.

Trapezius and Levator Scapulae

  • While lying on your back with knees bent and soles of feet on the ground, put shoulder blades together (neck and muscles at the top of shoulders should be relaxed; but neck should slightly be arched back).
  • Release shoulder blades.
  • Relax and then repeat exercise.

Each of these exercises are done in sets of 10, or based on your ability. However, take extra measure on your first attempt to do the exercises as it can result to more injury. See a chiropractor or a physical therapist to check your neck problem before you do such activities. And remember not to push yourself too much; it’s best to start slow in few sets and repetition and then try to add more when you’re fully able.

Neck exercises are necessary in making your neck muscles stronger. If done regularly, it helps you fight neck pain. However, if pain persists or if in case the pain gets worst, stop the exercise immediately and see a doctor right away.