Most people have experienced some sort of neck pain in their life. Whether it be you woke up with a stiff neck from sleeping funny, held too much weight across your shoulders and your jerked your neck the wrong way, or maybe your arm got tugged on and you felt a burning sensation down your arm. Maybe you developed a pinched nerve and your arms feel weak and the pain goes from your neck down your arm. You can even develop chronic neck pain from sitting at a desk and working all day.
Either way sometimes the pain keeps you from exercising for a few days.
Stiffness heals relatively quickly, but that pain that shoots down your arm, that takes some time. So what is that pain? Cervical radiculopathy (radiating). Radiating pain is caused by a compression or irritation of a nerve as it exists the spinal column. It can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. This can be felt in the shoulder, shoulder blade, upper arm (bicep/tricep area), forearm, hand and fingers.
There are 8 cervical vertebrae, each have a nerve root attached underneath it and those nerves flow throughout the upper arm. This is why you feel pain/tingling/weakness in the above mentioned areas.
Radiating pain can be caused by a pinched nerve, disc bulge or herniation, or degenerative changes in the disc.
In most cases cervical radiculopathy responds well to exercise! This does not mean head into the gym and start banging out heavy reps and sets of all your favorite exercises. You are going to need to take it easy and used less weight.
First, we want to stretch out our neck muscles, bicep and tricep to help reduce tight muscles that could be causing the nerve to get entrapped. Then continue on to back exercises to pull our shoulders and neck back (because most of us have forward head and neck posture that can cause/lead to a pinched nerve). This will help give the nerves space! Which in turn relieves your pain. So yes, you can do lat pulldowns, retractions and all that good stuff but start with a theraband or an extremely light amount of weight.
Click on the link below and enter the exercise code 588P6AG to retrieve a program sheet containing stretches and exercises to help you reduce your pain!