This is a neuro-compression disorder of the nerve roots that leave the spine. It is most commonly associated to the lower part of the neck C7.
1) in younger patients:
Disc herniation, acute injury causing impingement of the nerve, sports related injuries i.e. forced extension or side bending.
2) older patient:
Degenerative changes and bone spurring which is causing impingement on the nerve. Over 40 years of age this reduces the chances of disk herniation because they become more fibrous with age. However, this being said the degenerative changes can cause disk bulging which may occur and may also impinge on nerve roots. Also, degenerative changes can cause a narrowing of the spinal canal which can have greater effects.
Risk factors include:
1) heavy manual labouring
2) driving or operating vibration equipment
3) collision sports
4) ongoing poor posture
5) prior injuries like whiplash or degenerative joint disease/osteoarthritis
Signs and symptoms:
It is very common to feel a deep aching, burning neck pain and arm pain, with can be associated with pins and needles going down the arm into the hand. There can be a history of multiple episodes of previous neck pain and some symptoms of shoulder pain. Poor neck and shoulder range of motion can be often associted. In severe cases, muscle wastage can be seen. It is important to differentiate this condition from conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment of trapped nerve in the neck
- During the acute phase – it is important to reduce inflammation and to decompress the nerve root to attempt to reduce disc herniation
- Gentle spinal stretches and mobilisations to take the pressure off the irritated nerve - - - Pain relieving medication
- Acupuncture and strapping
- Advise on posture and sleeping
Manual and physical therapy should be performed to progress to maintain full range of motion and flexibility. As it improves, muscle stretching, strengthening and balance retaining should be addressed. You should avoid aggravated loading and flexion of the neck (looking down), along with aggravated sleeping positions.
Get in touch to find out further information on how we can help you here at Dynamic Osteopaths In Solihull, Birmingham and Bromsgrove.