Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises

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Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Definition, Tips, and Exercises

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical Radiculopathy is more commonly known as the “Pinched Nerve” condition. Cervical Radiculopathy occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated as a result of this compression where it branches away from the spinal cord.

Cervical Radiculopathy may cause pain where the pinched nerve is located and may radiate into the shoulder. The condition also induces muscle weakness and numbness that may travel down the arm and into the hand.

What Causes Cervical Radiculopathy?

A pinched nerve is most often caused by the wear and tear changes that occur in the spine as people age, such as in the case of arthritis. In some younger people, a pinched nerve is caused by a sudden injury that causes a disk to be herniated.

What are some of the Most Common Treatments used for Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy exercises should be aimed at opening the intervertebral foramen. These cervical radiculopathy exercises will help relieve the signs and symptoms while using an active range of motion. Since sometimes people with radiculopathy find it difficult to move their neck without significant pain, stretching can also be an effective way to perform cervical radiculopathy exercises and can help regain cervical mobility.

Once your mobility has improved, you can increase your strength with cervical radiculopathy exercises to make your spine more stable and prevent pain in the future. At first, strengthening should start with some simple isometric movements in the affected arm. Once your pain and other symptoms have improved, other cervical radiculopathy exercises in the form of progressive isotonic to strengthen can begin. This should start with a low amount of weight and a fairly high number of repetitions (15 to 20).

Fortunately, pinched nerves respond quite well to conservative treatment. This conservative treatment most often involves medication, but most of all, physical therapy.

Some of the most common physical therapies for cervical radiculopathy that you can easily do at home are generally branched into three categories, namely:

  • Head Tilts– Head tilts are done by facing straight ahead, in the most erect manner you can possibly muster (straight erect back, straight neck). After making sure that your whole body is absolutely straight, tilt your head to the farthest of your right and left until you can feel a stretch in either one of these sides.
  • Rotation Exercises– Patients will almost always start off with this exercise. This is because this exercise is effective in reducing pain, especially during the earlier stages of the condition, and can effectively help in easing the stress associated with a pinched nerve. These types of exercises have the goal of decreasing pain and increasing mobility in mind. This is due to the fact that the simple movement of the muscles stimulates circulation and can help reduce pain.
  • Neck Muscle Strengthening Exercises– these exercises can be done by doing some light isometric exercises, to begin with. Start in an erect position and press your hand against your head to resist any movement whatsoever. Then, move your hand to the front and back of each side of your head so you can resist pressures in any of these directions.

The 3 of these remedies are proven effective in easing the pain and eventually curing the condition, but it is always important to consult your doctor or local physician whenever you have the condition. This is to get proper consultation and get professional advice from a licensed and skilled professional.

Here are some of the other most common cervical radiculopathy exercises you can do to help you relieve pain in your neck area:

6 Quick Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises

Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Head Rotation

  • Do this exercise while sitting down.
  • Bring your head into a retracted position.
  • Gently turn your head diagonally to the right.
  • Do this until your nose is over your shoulder.
  • Return to original position.
  • Repeat 5 times in each of the left and right directions.

Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Neck Retraction

  • Do this exercise lying face up or sitting down.
  • Bring your head straight back and keep your eyes on the horizon. In short, retract it.
  • Then return it to its original position.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Head Drop

  • Start this exercise in a seated position.
  • Retract your neck, or tilt it backward.
  • Slowly move the head up and backward as far as you comfortably can.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Side Bend
  • Start by sitting down.
  • Bring your head into a sideways tilt, neck-retracted position.
  • Gently guide your right ear towards your right should using your right hand.
  • Do this until you feel a slight stretch on the left side of your neck.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat this position for 5 times on each side.

Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Head Flexion

  • Start by sitting down and bring your head to a neck-retraction position.
  • Close or clasp both of your hands behind your neck.
  • Guide your head with your hands into a downward motion, bringing the chin into the chest.
  • Stop when you feel a stretch in the back of your neck.
  • Return to original position.
  • Repeat this procedure 5 times.

Cervical Radiculopathy Exercises: Shoulder Blade Pull

  • Start this position once again by sitting down.
  • Raise your arm and bend them in 90-degree angles.
  • Relax your shoulders and neck and keep them still.
  • While keeping your neck and shoulders still, squeeze the muscles between the shoulder blades.
  • Draw the shoulder blades closer together.
  • Return to original position and once again, repeat this procedure 5 times.

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