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  • Writer's pictureRain Green

Physical Therapies for Neck Pinched Nerve Pain Relief

A pinched nerve, referred to medically as cervical radiculopathy when occurring in the neck, is a result of nerve irritation or compression. Symptoms of this condition can include numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain extending into the arm..

Nerves are highly susceptible to compression due to their delicate and minimally protected fibres, each responsible for connecting various body parts to the brain. External fibres in this network are the first to endure impingement, resulting in symptoms such as pain at the root and diminished function of affected nerve fibres, or a combination of both. In cases of cervical radiculopathy, the C7 nerve root is impacted in over half of cases, while approximately a quarter affect the C6 nerve root.

Neck Pinched Nerve

Indicators of a possible pinched nerve include:

  • Pain in the neck radiating beyond the elbow or extending to the fingertips.

  • Discomfort in the shoulder blade.

  • Weakness in the hand, arm, or shoulder.

  • Dull aches, numbness, or tingling sensations.

  • Pain exacerbated by neck movements.

Many doctors and therapists confuse cervical radiculopathy symptoms with carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. The common factor in both of these conditions is that the symptoms are not in the region where the pain actually seems to be. In other words, even though the painful symptoms are "downstream":

  • The pinched nerve in cervical radiculopathy occurs in the neck.

  • The crushed nerve in carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in the wrist.

poor posture

Pinched nerves impact around 85 out of every 100,000 adults annually in the United States. The leading cause of radiculopathy is often linked to poor posture. Inadequate sitting or standing posture frequently leads to musculoskeletal stress issues in the neck and shoulders. Prolonged and severe stress in these areas might even result in a condition termed thoracic outlet syndrome. This syndrome exhibits symptoms similar to both cervical radiculopathy and carpal tunnel syndrome.

To reduce the risk of cervical radiculopathy, there are two primary measures that can be taken:

Practicing Good Posture

1. Practicing Good Posture: Prolonged periods of incorrect posture, whether sitting or standing, can place undue stress on the body, potentially leading to spinal and muscular damage, resulting in a pinched nerve. Anything that narrows the spinal canal can contribute to a pinched nerve, manifesting as pain, numbness, and even disturbances in sleep.

Stretching Exercises:

2. Engaging in Stretching Exercises: Regular stretching exercises can maintain muscle strength and flexibility, potentially alleviating some of the discomfort associated with a pinched nerve. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy demonstrated promising results from stretching. Employing gentle resistance, either through the use of resistance bands or by utilising your own hands, can be beneficial in managing pinched nerve pain.

If you're experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, it's advisable to seek medical assistance. Treatment plans for cervical radiculopathy vary according to individual situations, as the condition affects each person differently. Healthcare providers typically initiate treatment with nonsurgical therapies for cervical radiculopathy. Around 90% of individuals with this condition achieve favourable to excellent outcomes with nonsurgical therapy.

Nonsurgical treatments for cervical radiculopathy include:

1. Soft Cervical Collar: Your doctor may advise wearing a soft cervical collar to rest the neck muscles and limit neck motion. This can help reduce nerve root pinching caused by neck movement. However, prolonged use of a soft collar may lead to a decrease in neck muscle strength, so it's typically recommended for a short duration.

2. Physical Therapy: Specific exercises can alleviate pain, strengthen neck muscles, and enhance range of motion. Cervical traction may also be used to gently stretch the neck's joints and muscles.

3. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral corticosteroids are often prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.

4. Steroid Injections: This procedure involves injecting steroids near the affected nerve to decrease local inflammation. While these injections don't relieve pressure on the nerve caused by a narrow foraminal or a bulging/herniated disk, they can reduce swelling and provide temporary pain relief, allowing the nerve to recover.

If nonsurgical treatments do not yield positive results, surgical intervention might be recommended. The specific surgical procedure suggested will depend on various factors, including the symptoms experienced and the location of the affected nerve root.

Cervical Traction

Neck traction therapy is a recognised technique for swiftly relieving neck and arm pain associated with cervical radiculopathy. It's a commonly employed method by medical professionals when suspecting cervical radiculopathy as the source of discomfort. Often, therapists opt to initiate treatment with neck traction due to its well-established effectiveness.

The process of neck traction involves creating space between vertebral bones, effectively alleviating pressure on the pinched nerve. By gently pulling the head away from the neck, this therapy aims to expand space and reduce compression on the affected nerve. Consequently, immediate relief from neck and arm pain is often observed following the application of traction. This treatment method is widely regarded for its efficiency and rapid action in relieving pain associated with cervical radiculopathy, potentially offering an alternative to medications or surgical interventions.

Various methods are available for administering cervical traction, either through professional assistance from a physical therapist or via home-based traction devices recommended by healthcare providers. For many individuals with cervical radiculopathy, self-administered traction, combined with sufficient rest, often supports the management of their condition, enabling more comfort in daily activities.

Cervical traction devices are accessible in both online marketplaces and medical supply stores. However, these devices come with their limitations. Hospital-based options, while effective, are often cumbersome, require professional assistance, and can be costly and time-consuming for most patients. On the other hand, some home therapy devices are overly simplistic, lacking the ability to easily adjust traction strength, which limits their overall efficacy.

Moreover, most existing devices require patients to assume a sitting or lying position during traction. This positioning might lead to unfamiliar muscle stretching and potential muscle spasms, which could compromise the effectiveness of the therapy. This underscores the need for a simpler yet effective device that enables patients to adjust traction strength based on their preferences and body weight. Additionally, the device should promote active stretching of associated muscles during traction, ensuring a more comfortable and effective cervical spinal traction therapy experience.

Neck Pinched Nerve Pain Relief

Introducing the LittleMum Cervical Traction Device, a groundbreaking tool designed for cervical traction therapy that comprehensively addresses the cervical spine and its interconnected muscles during the traction process.

The LittleMum cervical traction apparatus harnesses energy from its extension springs, allowing patients to move their hands and legs freely, perform gentle stretches, and various exercises while maintaining proper spinal alignment throughout the therapy session.

This unique device empowers patients to conveniently adjust traction strength by adding or removing parallel extension springs, customising the force for optimal results during therapy sessions.

Neck Pinched Nerve Pain Relief

The LittleMum Cervical Traction Device offers a series of specialised stretching exercises specifically designed to relax the neck-associated muscles during the cervical traction session. These exercises, including Neck Rotation, Chest Stretch, March in Place, and Spinal Extension Stretch, aim to alleviate pressure on the nerve and encourage relaxation in the surrounding muscles.

By strengthening and stretching the appropriate muscles, the device may help improve posture, alleviate pain, increase mobility, and create more space for a pinched or irritated nerve to move.

Expectations of Cervical Traction Therapy

At the onset of neck traction therapy, you may encounter some soreness. Using ice on the affected areas can significantly alleviate this discomfort. In rare instances, you might experience side effects like dizziness, nausea, and muscle soreness. Yet, as you become acclimated to the treatment, these side effects typically diminish.

When initiating cervical traction, it's vital to consider potential risk factors, such as increased blood pressure, compromised respiration, and potential compression of the temporomandibular joint due to specific harnesses in mechanical devices. If you have any doubts about your suitability for cervical traction therapy, it's advisable to seek confirmation from your doctor before proceeding. Safety and proper evaluation are fundamental aspects of this treatment.

Recovery timelines vary significantly among individuals, with diverse paths to improvement:

  • Some individuals may notice benefits after just a few treatment sessions.

  • For most, positive changes are usually observed within 2 to 4 weeks after starting treatment.

  • However, some may require an extended duration to experience significant improvements.

  • In cases of severe conditions, an extended time frame might be necessary to achieve noticeable progress.

Persistent commitment to treatment is essential, particularly due to the possibility of recurring symptoms in individuals experiencing cervical radiculopathy. Surprisingly, up to one-third of individuals may notice a resurgence of symptoms even after an initial period of improvement. This recurrent nature of symptoms underscores the importance of ongoing care, consistent adherence to the recommended treatment regimen, and maintaining a proactive approach to manage cervical radiculopathy. Patients who sustain their prescribed therapies and diligently follow up with healthcare providers stand a better chance of managing and reducing the likelihood of recurring symptoms, ultimately promoting a more sustained and improved quality of life..

Crafted with top-notch materials, the LittleMum cervical device is meticulously designed for peak performance. Priced at $149.95, it justifies every penny spent. If you're exploring cervical traction therapy for relief from your neck pinched nerve, consider checking out the LittleMum Cervical Traction Apparatus on Amazon using the provided link below .

Neck Pinched Nerve Pain Relief

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