The neck is made up of seven vertebrae encasing the spinal canal and spinal cord. The vertebrae are cushioned by discs with a gelatinous material in the center. The neck nerves are found on both sides of these discs and vertebrae. The neck includes arteries, muscles, veins, esophagus, glands, trachea and the larynx. Pain in the neck could be caused by problems with any of individual tissues. One of the most frequent problems that people complain about is a pinched nerve in neck.
Some typical pinched nerve in neck symptoms are numbness, muscle weakness, tingling, and radiating pain going out and down away from the pinched nerve. More discomfort will be experienced when coughing or sneezing.
There are ways that might help to prevent getting a pinched nerve. These would include maintaining a healthy weight and good posture, including a regular program of exercise which covers flexibility, stretching and strengthening exercises and limit doing activities that are repetitive. Contour pillows that help keep the neck in the correct position while sleeping causing less stress on the soft tissues around the vertebrae are very helpful.
There are several neck pain exercises that can be done to alleviate pain. These may also prevent pain to occur in the future. Make sure you do not push too hard which could actually harm the neck instead of helping it. Properly done stretches will allow more mobility but consistency is the key.
Warm-up exercises are basically just moving your neck from side to side, back and forward and turning your neck left and right. Doing these warm-ups about twenty times should be sufficient. Another good warm-up is simply rotating your head in circles and dropping you chin to your chest. The actual stretching exercises should not be intense but rather meant to relieve the area the pain is occurring. In order to find the area of pain may take some hunt-and-peck work in order to find the specific exercise that is needed to help.
Several exercises to try are:
1. Bring your chin down as close to your chest as possible, hold, then slowly bring your neck back so you are looking up. Return to the beginning and repeat ten times.
2. Bend to the right as far as possible without causing pain, just a slight stretch, hold a bit then switch and bend to the left for the same effect. Repeat this stretch ten times.
3. Stand with good posture and turn your head to the left, hold, then turn to the right and hold. Again repeat ten times.
Even with prevention, sometimes pinched nerves cannot be prevented. If you do end up with this very painful problem there are various pinched nerve in neck treatment options such as over-the-counter pain medicine, muscle relaxers, or anti-inflammatory medications along with rest. Treatment that has been found to be the most beneficial is ice and heat, massage and some types of physical therapy. However, if your physician finds that there is extensive damage to the nerve or the possibility that the above treatments will not help or may in fact harm the nerve more, surgery may be suggested. If this is the case, a second opinion is advisable because of the risks involved with this type of surgery. If the surgery is minimally invasive success rates are relatively high, but conservative surgery has many more risks. Definitely research all your options before deciding on surgery.
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