How to Treat Radiating Neck Pain

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Treat Radiating Neck Pain
Treat Radiating Neck Pain (Image: Creative Commons License, by: Andrew Ciscel, copyright Feb. 2007)

The cervical spine is composed of vertebrae that extend from the base of the skull to the upper part of the torso. The surrounding ligaments and muscles are the ones providing its stability and motion. But the strong support of these structures is still unable to stop the necks’ susceptibility to injury. One of the existent injuries to this area is the “pinched nerve,” which can be due to disk damage, tight muscles, or bony deposits. It causes either acute pain or chronic and recurrent gnawing pain that radiates from the base of the neck up to the scalp, and down to shoulders, arm, and fingers. This is usually accompanied with headaches, dizziness, stiff muscles around the neck, and tingling or numbness--which decreases the overall range of motion and mobility of the individual. To treat this agonizing type of neck pain, apply the following steps.

Apply heat on the affected area. Place a warm towel on your neck to relax your cervical muscles and relieve pain.

Perform light massage on your neck muscles using oil or some menthol creams. Make sure to do massage along the side area and not directly on the spine.

Schedule for a chiropractic treatment. This is excellent for manual manipulation and specific adjustment of the cervical spine.

Application of acupressure and acupuncture, are beneficial for relieving the pain and also for the relaxation of your neck muscles.

Set up a session with a physical therapist for manual traction. This will open up the cervical foramen, which helps in soothing the pain.

Get a lot of rest and wear a neck collar to allow your muscles to relax and recover.

Start by standing or sitting comfortably, with your neck in neutral position. Tuck your chin to chest and hold your head with your hands. Inhale as you slowly flex your neck some more until you are looking down to the floor. Feel the stretch at the back of your neck and hold it for 5 seconds. Exhale as you go back to neutral position and relax. Repeat 5 to 10 times or as tolerated.

Standing up or sitting down, tuck your chin to your chest and inhale as you gently rotate it to the right. Hold stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. Then exhale as you relax, rotate your head back to the center, and your neck in a neutral position. Do the same procedure on the left side. Repeat 10 times.

Begin by standing or sitting with neck in neutral position. Slowly flex your head to the right (with face still facing front), hold it for 10 seconds, and bring your head back to the center. Do the same procedure on the left side. Repeat 5 to 10 times.You can further the stretch, by placing your right hand at the top of your head and left hand at the top of your left shoulder. Carefully push your head more to the right, while your left hand, pushes your left shoulder further down. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then bring head back to the front and relax.

In Standing or sitting, and neck in neutral position, slowly elevate your shoulders as high as you can. Hold it for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.

To reduce the pain, irritation, and inflammation of the neck area, take some Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Take muscle relaxants for severe stiffness of your cervical muscles.

Chronic neck pain can be depressing. So taking some anti-depressants may come in handy.

Tips & Warnings

  • If gnawing pain from the neck to the arms, is still present after 6 to 12 weeks, visit the doctor right away. This case may be in need of surgical treatment.
  • Do not perform exercises without any advice from your physiatrist or physical therapist.
  • Do not apply manual traction without supervision of a physical therapist.
  • Never take any medications without the doctors’ orders.

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