If you’ve ever experienced a pinched nerve, you know that it can be an annoying and painful condition. Learn how to treat it with these helpful exercises and stretches.
Article quick links:
A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons pressures and disrupts the nerve’s function.
One of the best ways to relieve the pain is with these simple pinched nerve exercises.
Exercises that help stretch and strengthen the damaged area have proven to be very successful. Not only do they relieve pain and help heal the damaged nerve, but they also help prevent the injury from recurring.
When you have a pinched nerve it causes symptoms not only at the site of damage, but also potentially anywhere further down the affected nerve’s path.
A pinched nerve can occur in many places throughout the body but the most common are:
- Shoulder blade
- Lower left back
- Buttocks / down the leg (often sciatica)
- Elbow (tennis / golfers elbow)
- Groin / inner thigh (obturator nerve)
Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include
- Shooting pain
- Burning sensation
- Prickly sensation
- Stabbing sensation
- Tingling sensation
Common causes of pinched nerve pain
- Muscle imbalances
- Trigger points
- Compression and torsion of joints or the spine
Plus, all of these factors can increase your risk of a pinched nerve:
- Obesity – Excess weight can add pressure to nerves.
- Heredity – Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing pinched nerves.
- Posture – Poor posture adds pressure to your spine and nerves.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can compress nerves.
- Bone spurs – Can stiffen the spine and narrow the space where your nerves travel.
- Overuse – Repetitive hand, wrist or shoulder movements can lead to pinched nerves.
Simple Pinched Nerve Exercises
These shoulder and back exercises for pinched nerves can help relieve pain and speed up recovery from a pinched nerve.
Back exercises for pinched nerves:
Start in a standing position with your hands on your hips. Be sure to maintain straight posture. Gently stretch your lower back by leaning to both sides of the body. Perform five side bends towards each side of your body.
Start in a sitting position while placing the legs at shoulder width. Placing your left hand on your right knee and pull your body forward to gently stretch your back muscles. Hold for five seconds then repeat on the opposite side.
Start in a sitting position. Lean forward and attempt to touch your toes. You should feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for ten seconds then sit up straight. Repeat five times.
Exercises for pinched nerve in shoulder blade
Sit on a chair and interlace the fingers on both hands. Place them behind your head.
Move your chin in a downward direction and to the right side simultaneously.
Hold the position for 15 seconds, before looking forward again. Repeat on your left side.
Perform the exercise five times in each direction.
Perform in a standing position. Keeping both arms at your sides, shrug your shoulders backwards in a rotating motion.
Return to the original position in a similar movement from the opposite direction. Perform a set of 15.
Take a 30 seconds break between each set.
Bench press with broom
Perform this exercise lying down. Lie on your back while holding a broom across your body with both hands at shoulder width.
Press the broom pressed upwards until your elbows become straight.
Repeat the exercise 15 times with 30-second breaks between each set.
Other pinched nerve exercises
Aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling and swimming reduce the pain and discomfort associated with a pinched nerve by increasing your blood circulation and delivering oxygen and nutrients to the damaged nerve, which facilitates healing.
Pilates is excellent for balancing muscle development, building a strong core, and reinforcing good posture.
Its low impact is a perfect choice for exercising to relieve pain from pinched nerves and minimize the risk of re-injury.
Yoga combines classic poses, controlled breathing, and deep relaxation to condition and strengthens your body regardless of your current flexibility or other physical limitations.
Simply moving around in water helps loosen and limber up your body while offering it support you wouldn’t normally get on dry land.
For some specific suggestions, listen to Steve Hefferon’s short audio on water exercises for back pain.
Muscle Balance Therapy
While all of these exercises can help relieve pain from a pinched nerve, if you want to prevent its recurrence you must address the leading cause of all back pain, and much of the pain elsewhere in your body: muscle imbalances.
Muscle balance therapy is a systematic approach for identifying the specific muscle imbalances behind your pain.
It then gives you targeted exercises to strengthen your underworked, weak muscles and targeted stretches to loosen up those tight, overworked muscles.
Learn more about the benefits of Muscle Balance Therapy right here.
Try these stretches for neck pain