It starts simply enough—a twinge of neck pain or bit of numbness in your hands or feet, or perhaps in your back. Then you begin to feel weakness in your arms or legs. Suddenly you wake up one morning to find that you have difficulty walking or balancing. Extreme pain sets in, and pretty soon what began as mere discomfort feels like a nightmare. This is what it’s like to live with untreated sciatica or cervical stenosis.
Sciatica and cervical stenosis are similar forms of spinal stenosis—an all-too-common condition that affects as many as 11% of the population, primarily people over the age of 50. At best, they result in reoccurring or chronic pain in the neck, back, and limbs. But at their worst, they can even cause bladder or bowel problems like urinary urgency or incontinence.
Both sciatica and cervical stenosis are degenerative conditions, meaning that they tend to worsen without some form of intervention, especially as you age. Luckily intervention is not only possible but there are things you can do to prevent or reverse these conditions without medical aid.
And in this article, we'll introduce you to the possibility of using neck exercises for cervical stenosis or sciatica treatment. With the help of the best neck exercise equipment on the market, you can overcome these conditions and live a healthier, happier life in no time. First - let's provide some brief context to set the stage for the rest of our conversation today.
What Causes Sciatica Or Cervical Stenosis?
Sciatica arises when something impinges or irritates the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, then down your legs. The most common causes are herniated disks or bone overgrowth (more commonly called “bone spurs”). Similarly, the neck pain associated with cervical stenosis is caused when there is an issue with the nerve in the part of the spine that runs through your neck.
These conditions are also often linked to extreme cases of kyphosis—the excessive forward rounding of the upper spine—as well as scoliosis, which is an abnormal sideways curving of the spine.
Risk Factors for Sciatica and Cervical Stenosis
Common risk factors for these conditions include:
- Age: Baby Boomers tend to be the most common group afflicted with sciatica and cervical stenosis as spinal changes and injuries occur over time.
- Obesity: Excess body weight can increase stress on the spine, thereby contributing to spinal injury.
- Occupational hazards: People who work in jobs that involve lots of twisting, carrying, or sitting are at greater risk of spine issues that contribute to the conditions.
- Prolonged periods of sitting: Back issues resulting in sciatica and cervical stenosis are common to people with sedentary lifestyles.
When these factors are present in conjunction with one another, the risk of developing these conditions skyrockets
Traditional Sciatica And Cervical Stenosis Treatments
Treatments vary based on the severity of your sciatica or cervical stenosis:
- Short-term pain management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen can help, or in more severe cases prescription muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatories might be necessary. These are often used alongside hot and cold packs and a few days of limited bed rest.
- Long-term prevention and reduction: To prevent sciatica and cervical stenosis or treat them over the long term, various forms of physical therapy can help. These usually involve a regimen of stretching and exercise designed to improve posture, build strength, and take pressure off the impacted nerves.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery can be necessary to remove whatever is irritating the nerve. This is only needed in about 5-10% of cases.
How Neck Exercises for Cervical Stenosis or Sciatica Can Help
Your best bet when it comes to treating sciatica or cervical stenosis is to prevent them from developing in the first place. Of course, in the event that you are already coping with either condition, this advice doesn't help. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prevent it from getting worse - and one of these is neck training.
Developing a strong, flexible, and thick neck can be a powerful means of preventing or treating these and other spine-related issues known for causing neck and back pain. That means exercising your neck regularly thereby increasing neck and back strength, improving your posture, and increasing your mobility—all of which translates into a decreased likelihood of injury and reduced instances of cervical stenosis or sciatica.
But even for avid fitness enthusiasts who work out on a regular basis, the neck is often among the most overlooked muscle groups in terms of providing it with direct exercise. Everyone knows how to perform a bicep curl, but how do you exercise your neck? We'll guide you through the basics below:
Get Your Neck Training Equipment
Step one is preparing for the journey ahead. Before we can teach you how to build neck muscles at home, we need to get you set up with the right equipment. And that's where the Iron Neck comes in: the #1 piece of neck exercise equipment.
The Iron Neck unlocks 360-degree training capabilities right in your home. This means you can target all the neck muscles anatomy - including the muscles on side of neck! Everyone from the world's greatest athletes to everyday people who just want to reap the benefits of a strong neck are using Iron Neck, and you can as well to overcome cervical spinal stenosis.
But, if you just want to dip your toes in the water, you can consider our more basic neck training harness. Once you have the right equipment for cervical spinal stenosis exercises, here's how to get started...
Specific Exercises for Cervical Stenosis
We have detailed resources here on our site guiding you through the basic movements with the Iron Neck, and these are great cervical spinal stenosis exercises. Here are a few motions to keep in mind:
- Flexion: This involves using your neck to move your head forward, chin to chest.
- Extension: This is the act of tilting your head back.
- Lateral bends: This is when you move your head side-to-side, ear to shoulder.
- Rotation: This is the act of turning your head to look right or left.
By performing exercises that involve all of these movements, you ensure that you’re building a strong neck that is more capable of withstanding injury, supporting a healthy posture, and delivering improved body mechanics and range of motion.
All of this is key to maintaining a healthy spine, preventing or treating conditions like sciatica or cervical stenosis, and living pain-free. For more specific recommendations, explore our resources on neck mobility exercises, neck spasm exercises, neck fat exercises, neck exercises for mass, turkey neck exercises, exercises to tighten neck.
You can also learn about neck training before and after in our blog to help set your expectations for the neck training results you can expect. And, we encourage you to read our resource on neck training frequency to round out your regimen. Otherwise, it's time to bring our conversation on neck exercises for cervical stenosis to a close.
Wrapping Up Our Guide to Neck Exercises for Cervical Stenosis and Sciatica Pain
While both cervical spinal stenosis and sciatica can interfere with the way you live your life, they don't have to any longer. We've introduced you to a solution that won't just help you live a healthier, happier life in the present day - you'll address immobilities and injury risks that could hold you back in the future.
At this point, there's just one thing left to do - get started incorporating these neck exercises for cervical stenosis into your treatment regimen today. With the help of Iron Neck, pain-free living is just a few clicks away.