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Exercises for Pinched Nerve in Neck

author image Mark Little
Mark Little began his professional writing career in 2009 with his work appearing on various websites. He emphasizes alternative approaches to health-related issues. He is certified as a sports nutritionist by the International Fitness Association. Little graduated from Texas Chiropractic College with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
Exercises for Pinched Nerve in Neck
You can relieve pain from a pinched nerve in the neck. Photo Credit walking image by astoria from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

A pinched nerve in the neck can be painful and debilitating. Due to the close proximity of the structures in the neck, the slightest movement can cause discomfort. When attempting to exercise the neck area, special care to avoid nerve injury is required. You should avoid heavy, strenuous activity when suffering with a pinched nerve. Low-impact exercises are effective in relieving painful symptoms.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are both low-impact and simple to perform. They increase flexibility and add to the stability of the neck area. Lack of flexibility and unstable muscles in the neck increase the risk of developing radiculopathy. Radiculopathy results from pressure on the nerve, causing pain that radiates down your arms and into the fingers.

According to SpineUniverse.com, if you suffer from a pinched nerve in the neck, perform neck rolls by slowly rolling your head in all directions as you relax your neck muscles. When you stretch the area, your body releases endorphins because of the movement. Endorphins, a natural pain reliever, help to reduce the pain associated with a pinched nerve.

Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise involves the contraction of a muscle without movement of the joint. In isometric exercises, the length of the muscle is not changed. Isometric exercises for the cervical spine will increase strength in your neck. After doing these for a while, you will be able to increase the strength and length of time you can perform them.

Perform neck isometrics by placing your hands on the back of your head. While putting pressure against the back of your head, resist with your neck muscles. Increase pressure and count to five. Relax and repeat. Do not move your neck during the exercise. Repeat the same movements, but put your hands on your forehead and push backwards while resisting with your neck muscles.

Low-Impact Aerobics

Walking is an effective low-impact exercise to relieve pain from a pinched nerve. Walking increases circulation and aids in flexibility while increasing overall health. When beginning a walking program, start slow and work your way up until you can walk for an hour or more. Alternate your pace, walk at a normal pace for ten minutes, and then quicken your pace for five minutes. Continue alternating during your entire workout.


Yoga exercises increase flexibility and reduces tension. The relaxing effects of yoga are beneficial for increasing flexibility, and it also aids in relieving stress and preventing muscle tension. Muscle tension in the neck area will cause pain by creating pressure on the nerve by the surrounding structures.


When suffering from a pinched nerve in the neck, never start an exercise program without first consulting a doctor. If you feel severe pain or numbness in the upper extremities while exercising, stop and call your doctor.

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