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Pinched Nerve in the Neck:
Stop Neck Pain, Get Rid of Numbness and Tinglins, and Gain Your Strength Back
Causes, Symptoms, Remedies and Support for Patients suffering from a Pinched Nerve in the Neck
Signs and Symptoms of A Pinched Nerve In the Neck
Having a Pinched nerve is the neck is not a comfortable feeling. Neck pain, stiff neck, soreness, decrease in range of motion and overall discomfort can result. When a nerve root in the neck is irritated or compressed, a patient will show certain signs and symptoms. There will be sensory changes (numbness and tingling), muscle changes (often weakness and atrophy- muscle mass may decrease) and also a change in reflexes. Lets find out what some of these classic symptoms for specific pinched nerves in the neck:
- C5 nerve root
If the C5 nerve root is irritated or compressed, a patient will exhibit certain pain patterns and neurological changes. The pain will be concentrated in the neck, upper arm, shoulders, and medial border of the scapula. The patient may also show numbness and tingling in the upper arm, specifically in the arm and deltoid muscles. The Doctor may notice a decreased biceps reflex and the patient is not able to bring their arms sideways up towards their ears (abduction) to the level of the shoulder or above.
- C6 nerve Root
Patients who have a radiculopathy that involves the C6 nerve root will present with neck pain, shoulder pain, medial scapula pain, thumb and index finger pain. They may have numbness and tingling into the outer aspect of the lower arm, into the thumb and index finger. The Doctor may notice that the brachioradialis and biceps reflex is decreased or absent. With motor testing, the doctor may also notice that the patient has weakness with wrist extension and the ability to bend the elbow.
- C7 nerve Root
Patients who present with a C7 radiculopathy will exhibit neck pain, lower arm pain and pain along the medial border of the scapula. They may experience numbness and tingling into the middle finger. The Doctor may notice an absent or decreased triceps reflex. Weakness may also be noticed in the ability to straighten the elbow, and weakness in the triceps muscle, wrist flexors and finger extensors.
- C8 nerve root
Patients who have a C8 radiculopathy may present with neck pain, scapula pain, pain along the inner side of the arm, ring and little fingers. They may also have numbness and tingling in the ring and little fingers. Weakness may be noted in the finger flexors.
It should be noted that even if you have been diagnosed with a certain level of radiculopathy your symptoms may be different from the classic symptoms that we have listed above. Radiculopathic pain is not limited to one specific distribution pattern and may not always be sharp, and shooting and superficial in nature. Instead often times, the pain is all over the place, not just localized to one area and can be deep in nature. One reason for this because of the referred sclerotogenous pain that comes from irritaton of the dural sleeve which is densely innervated.
As you can see, each nerve controls a lot of different sensations, muscles and reflexes.
Products for Pain Relief- Home Treatment for a Pinched Nerve
For immediate pain relief, ice should be applied to the neck and upper back area. The ice pack should be placed over the area of disc herniation (in this case C4-5), not over the area of severe pain. It is important to apply the ice for 30 minutes to allow for penetration of the cold therapy into the area of the herniation. Wait one hour and then re apply the ice pack for another 30 minutes. Ice helps to decrease inflammation and gives you pain relief. Also, it is important to use a towel with the ice pack on the area of the body, to prevent frost burn and make it more comfortable.
Muscle Spasm Therapy
A T.E.N.S unit also works well, although the pain relief may be temporary- Tens works by blocking pain signals. You also use an analgesic gel
such as Biofreeze (works well with cold therapy) or Sombra (works well with heat therapy). Both of these work extremely well for muscle spasm and soreness in the neck and upper back areas.
Another therapy that can be used to treat herniated disc in the neck is neck traction or stretching of the neck. Studies have shown that neck traction is an effective treatment for a pinched nerve in the neck.
A study that was completed by Zylbergold 3 that examined 3 types of traction in patients. Static, intermittent, and manual traction were compared to no traction. The study revealed that all patients had relief of symptoms but the intermittent traction group had significant results in terms of decreased pain and increased range of motion in the cervical spine. There are many traction units available on the market today. The gold standard for neck traction is the Pronex Pnuematic traction unit. This traction unit comes in 3 sizes, is very comfortable to use and gives traction in the anterior (front part) and posterior part (back part) of the disc. The Pronex has one section that stabilizes the occiput, while the other exerts counterforce against a patient's shoulders. The special design of the Pronex supports the natural curvature of the cervical spine during treatment. There is a single-hand pump inflation which allows you to control the Pronex traction device easily while maintaining muscle relaxation during treatment. Another positive is that Pronex will not aggravate or put pressure on the on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Cervical Support Neck Pillow
A good cervical support neck pillow will also help patients who experience pain due to a herniated disc, bulging disc, or degeneration in the spine. The Arc4life Cervical Traction neck pillow
is a traction pillow that not only gently stretches your neck neck but also gives good cervical support. This neck pillow allows users to have a proper c-curve when sleeping- taking pressure off of the nerves and making sure your head and neck are properly aligned while sleeping. For someone who sufferers with a pinched nerve in the neck, the traction pillow is very beneficial.
What Products will provide Pain Relief
Arc4life specializes in products for pain relief
. Specifically if you have a herniated disc, bulging disc, or degeneration in the neck spine, we have products to help a pinched nerve in your neck
Products for Herniated Disc | Bulging Disc | Disc Degeneration
Neck Pain Relief Total PackageIncludes the Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow (medium or large), A Dust Cover, The Posture Pump 1000 Cervical Traction Unit, 6x20 hot and cold pack, Formula 303 muscle relaxer and Biofreeze Natural Pain Relief Gel 4 oz tube
Over the Door Neck Traction SystemThe Original Neck Traction Device for Neck Pain Relief: Over the Door Neck Traction
Source: The Neck Pain Support Blog
Other treatments for herniated and bulging discs in the Cervical Spine
- Chiropractic treatment is very important for a disc herniation: A chiropractor can determine if there is a misalignment in the cervical spine and correct that with manual manipulation and gentle mobilization techniques. Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic manipulation is a safe and effective treatment for herniated disc. BenEliyahu 1,2 demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of including manipulation in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy caused by a herniated disc. He studied 27 patients (11 had a cervical radiculopathy). The patients were treated with manipulation, traction, therapeutic modalities, ice and home exercise. 22 of the 27 patients had a good outcome. 9 out of the 11 cervical patients were able to return to their normal occupations. Most importantly it was noticed that there were no side effects.
- Non Surgical Spinal Decompression There is a newer treatment called non surgical spinal decompression for the cervical spine that might be beneficial if you are a candidate. If you google "Drx9000C" you may be able to find a doctor near you. This treatment is safe and effective for patients who suffer from disc herniations. It is very important that you have an exam (orthopedic +neurological) to see if you are a candidate. You Dr will also look at your MRI's to see what level is affected. The treatment is called Non surgical spinal decompression and most often it is offered in a chiropractor's office. Unfortunately the treatment is not covered by most insurance companies. Each session can run about $170-$225 dollars depending on the office and location in the United States. Most people go for about 20 sessions- but each case is different. Treatment is often following by ice therapy and electrical stimulation. *** note that this is available for disc herniations in the lower back + Neck.
- Pain Medications and Pain Management may provide a temporary relief for severe neck pain but also introduce new side effects that must be monitored by your Doctor. I am not a big favor of pain management because you are just treating the symptoms, not the cause of the disc herniation. Yes, some people get relief, but it means you are putting a lot of meds into your body and for how long will you have pain management and what will be the side effects?
- Surgery- Only in extreme cases should surgery be considered. Surgery may be an option if severe neurological deficits occur, persistent pain, bowel or bladder dysfunction occur or severe motor weakness.** Always seek conservative non surgical treatment options before thinking about surgery as an option for treatment.
1.BenEliyahu DJ. Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical follow-up: Study of 27 patients receiving chiropractic care for cervical and lumbar disc herniation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics ; 1996;19(9):597-606
2.BenEliyahu DJ. Chiropractic management and manipulative therapy for MRI documented cervical disk herniationJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1994; 17(3):177-185
3.Zylbergold RS, Piper MC. Cervical spine disorders: A Comparison of three types of traction. Spine 1985; 10(10):867-871
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