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Stretches and Exercises for a Pinched Nerve

  • 3 min read

Whether you’re a professional athlete or work in an office, neck pain is extremely common. If you’re experiencing daily pain in your neck, it could be a sign of a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is a nerve or bundle of nerves that is damaged or compressed due to a number of causes - this can lead to numbness, sharp pain and/or a limited range of motion. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to consider neck training.

What Causes a Pinched Nerve? 

A pinched nerve occurs when the root of a nerve, the part connected to the spinal cord, is injured or inflamed. This happens when surrounding tissues apply too much pressure to a nerve, whether it’s from a sudden motion or repeated actions. The most common causes of pinched nerves in the neck are: 

  • Constant stress: This can be caused by poor posture, sleeping positions or repetitive motions that put persistent pressure on the same nerve. Your head may only weigh 10-12 pounds, but looking down at a screen can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.
  • Sports: Extreme exercises can squeeze a nerve and cause it unfamiliar stress.
  • Bone Spurs or Growths: Bone spurs are small, pointed outgrowths from bones. These growths can occur due to osteoarthritis or tendonitis.
  • Narrowing Spinal Space or Degeneration of Spinal Discs: A condition called spinal stenosis can cause narrowing of space between your vertebrae, which can put pressure on your neck. Age and other factors can cause the discs between those vertebrae to break down and squeeze your nerves.

Before looking into starting exercises for a pinched nerve in neck, develop preventive practices like maintaining proper positioning and taking breaks from repeated physical activities.

Neck Stretches for a Pinched Nerve

There are several exercises for a pinched nerve in the neck to stretch your muscles and alleviate pain. Consult your doctor before beginning these pinched nerve neck stretches to know if they’re right for you and how often to perform them. 

  • Trap Stretch: This targets your trapezius muscles, located in the back of your neck. Place your right hand under your thigh, and use your left hand to gently bend your head to the left side. Repeat three times for each side, taking 30-second pauses in between.
  • Neck Tilt/Chin Tuck: You may already perform this pinched nerve in the neck stretch without even realizing it. While sitting, tilt your head down and bring your chin to your chest for five seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat five times.
  • Head Turn: Begin by looking straight ahead and then slowly turn your head to the right. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Slowly turn your head to the left, and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

What are Good Exercises for Pinched Nerves in Your Neck?

Aside from simple stretches, there are exercise for a pinched nerve in neck in shoulder to further your neck training. Neck exercises for pinched nerve are powerful prevention tools that strengthen muscles and promote blood circulation.

Maintaining a strong neck makes your nerves more resistant to pressure from other tissues. The following exercises for neck and shoulder pain for a pinched nerve also promote a wider range of motion, which will prevent injuries due to unfamiliar or extreme movements.

Exercises for a Pinched Nerve in your Neck and Shoulders

  • Shoulder Shrugs: While standing and keeping both arms at your sides, roll your shoulders backward 15 times. Take a 30-second break before doing the same in a forward motion.
  • Swimming: Make sure to stretch before swimming, and rely on strokes that don’t cause pain. Swimming promotes a full range of upper body motion while remaining low-impact.
  • Walking: This should be done for 15 to 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. Make sure to maintain good posture and take breaks when needed. 

As with the neck stretches for a pinched nerve, each exercise for a pinched nerve in the neck should not be painful. It’s imperative to maintain proper positioning while exercising or stretching. The Iron Neck holds your head and neck in place as you perform each rep, providing both stability and resistance. By also allowing multi-directional motion, the Iron Neck is perfect for preventing pinched nerves. Neck training can prevent more significant injuries as well. By fortifying your muscles, the Iron Neck helps combat concussions and whiplash. From football players to MMA fighters, athletes trust the Iron Neck with training some of their most crucial muscles.