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Exercises for a C6 Pinched Nerve

author image Crystal Welch
Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.
Exercises for a C6 Pinched Nerve
Exercises for a C6 pinched nerve can alleviate pain. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The C6 is your sixth cervical vertebra, and a pinched nerve can result in a variety of symptoms including shoulder, thumb, index finger, neck and/or scapula pain. Numbness and tingling down the outer portion of your arm may occur along with decreased ability to use the arm. Performing a variety of exercises for a C6 pinched nerve can return this area to a healthier level while minimizing symptoms. Check with your doctor first.


Exercises for a C6 pinched nerve provide many benefits. Exercises can lower pain and inflammation levels, lower your risk of experiencing a cervical injury, decrease neck stiffness, and prevent arthritis or joint deterioration from developing, according to arc4life.com. Exercises will improve athletic performance, help you regain or improve range of motion, strengthen neck muscles, enhance neck health appearance and enhance performance of everyday activities such as turning to see while driving.

Neck Stretch

Increase your neck flexion by doing an exercise for a C6 pinched nerve known as a sideways stretch. Do this exercise while either standing or sitting upright. If standing, you may want to hold onto a firm chair for balance purposes. Slowly move your head to the right side as if touching your right ear to your right shoulder, according to arc4life.com and the Physiotherapy Site. Stretch as far as possible without discomfort. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly return your head to the straight-ahead position. Repeat this exercise nine times. Do the exercise again to your left side. Do not move your shoulders or turn your head throughout the exercise.

Upper Body Stretch

An upper body stretch can be used as an exercise for a C6 pinched nerve. For a neck stretching maneuver, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly and gently place your hands on the back of your head. Slowly bend your upper body to the right, trying to point your left elbow toward the ceiling. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly return your upper body to the original position. Rest 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times. Do the exercise again to your left side. Remember not to move your hips or waist during this exercise.

Neck Strengthening

Isometrics can be used as strengthening exercises for a C6 pinched nerve. Isometrics involve muscle contractions that apply force without lengthening or moving the joint, according to arc4life.com. Do an isometric exercise that increases cervical strength by placing your right hand onto your right temple. Slowly but firmly try to turn your head to your right side. Use your right hand to press against your head to resist any head movement. Hold this position for five seconds. Release the tension and relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times. Do the exercise again using your left hand, resisting movement to your left.


Remember to breathe normally throughout your exercises for a C6 pinched nerve to relax your muscles and achieve as much range of motion as possible, according to arc4life.com. Use gentle, deliberately slow movements to prevent injury while exercising your neck, according to arc4life.com. Remember to stretch only until you feel a mild stretch, and stop if pain occurs.

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