Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today
I’m going to show you some stretches and exercises for cervical radiculopathy.
Let’s get started. So if you have this, you know is pretty
ridiculous, and you want to get rid of that pain because it’s nerve pain.
Basically what radiculopathy is is the nerve root at the spine gets inflamed
and irritated and then it causes that pain usually down the arm or if it’s in
the lower body down the leg. So to start off with, we’re just going to do some
nerve glides. With nerve glides, remember you just want to do a little bit. Maybe
ten just one time a day because if you do too many, it will flare up the nerve
even more that’s definitely what you don’t want. So to start off with, take the arm and
put it almost up into a stop sign position, but turn your palm facing you,
and what you do is imagine that there’s a string on your finger and your head so
they follow each other. So basically you’re going to pull your head over and
straighten your arm out and then come back in. Try to keep your head in a
straight forward position, don’t turn towards it, but keep it
straight ahead, and then just side bend over and follow that hand going down and
coming back up. So again just start off with 10 of these. I wouldn’t recommend
anymore because it might flare it up a little bit more. Then you’re going to go
into some stretching into a trap stretch, and that’s those muscles back here where
they get tight they they pull in and put pressure on that spine and put pressure
on the nerves. So for the trap stretch, if I’m stretching my right side, I’m going
to put my hand down. Some people put it behind their back you can do that. If
you’re sitting in a chair, it helps to kind of grab on the bottom
of the chair cause then that kind of stabilizes the shoulder because you
don’t want your shoulder coming up, you want it to stay down. And then take your
opposite hand and then just pull away and hold that stretch for 30 seconds. So
you should feel that stretch right in through there, and just nice hold. See if
I’m not holding on that shoulder comes up a little bit, and I’m it’s not
terrible but then I’m not getting quite as much of a stretch, so make sure you
kind of pull it down, you can just take your fist
and push it down as well. Holding that for 30 seconds and then doing that three
times. If you want to do both sides you can as well. The next one is going to be a chin tuck,
and we’ve talked about chin tucks in the past where it’s not tucking down towards
your chest, but it’s actually tucking it in making a whole lot of little chin’s
there. So the goal is to make a whole bunch of wrinkles right there. So what I like to do is kind of use my
finger as a target just so I know that I’m actually retracting that chin back.
So just starting here, and then it’s almost like I’m trying to take the back
of my head towards my other hand. So just scrunching, in getting lots of little
chin’s there, but keeping that chin up. Hold it for about three to five seconds,
and then relax, and you can see that there’s a space now between my finger
and my chin, and I moved it a little bit, but you can tell that there’s a
difference there. And then move it again and retract. Hold it there three to five
seconds, and do about five of those. Then the next one is going to be the chin
retraction with a little bit of an extension, and remember with extension if
you have neck issues anyways, sometimes this movement for people makes you dizzy
or very painful, so don’t feel like you have to do a lot, you’re just getting
that movement. So you’re going to do that chin retraction first, and then just an
up and down while you’re retracted. So you can try and do about five at a time
while you’re retracted, or relax each time because sometimes it’s hard because
you haven’t work those muscles in a while, people tend to get that forward
head posture and then these become weak these become tight, so you might have to
do one chin tuck go up, relax. But if you can hold it and do
about five at a time, that’s the best and then do two sets of five. So there you
have it, those were your stretches for cervical radiculopathy. If you have any
questions, leave them in the comments section. iIf you’d like check out some other
videos go to And remember, be safe
have fun (don’t be ridiculous), and I hope you feel better soon.

100 Replies to “Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. Are the sliders suppose to be done on the same side as the pain i.e. Pain is on the right side of the neck so you use your right arm and tilt your head to the right? Also on the trap stretch, should that be done on both sides or only one side (and if one side which way do you tilt your head – toward the pain or away)?

  2. My shoulder make a big pop the other day and ever since I have been in pain in my arm, shoulder, neck, headache, even had ear/jaw pain for a bit. My hand keeps going tingling also and had a little chest pain as well.. it's really odd. It popped again this morning and more pain. It's not a normal pop it's like a giant pop of that makes sense… a hard core deep pop..

  3. A herniated disc is causing my pain. About to have replacement surgery on my c7. Would really like to avoid it

  4. Last a few days m having dizziness may be just because of incorrect sleeping,whenever I keep down my neck and then take that up I feels dizziness .
    Please tell me some exercise to remove this problem , I will be thankful of you mam .

  5. Great video.. I'm having trouble on my left side.. in my neck, shoulder with aching down my arm.. it is quite bad as I can't lift my head up straight when I'm out, I have to walk looking at the ground, I have to hold my head looking down at about 45deg, it's awful because I'm not sleeping either due to the ache in my arm… I've had this about 1 week now, I hope these exercises can help

  6. Dr. Joe will my frozen shoulder get well by following your exercise. How can i come to you for.consultation. .thank you so much

  7. The only problem is I can't do ANY of the exercises because my neck is fused. How about some help for people with multi level fusions?

  8. I visited doctor be because of nerve pain in my neck followed by lightheadedness, dizziness, sharp pain and similar. They gave me just pain killers and told me go leave. My symptoms aren't like this anymore but from time to time I have pains and my head is under pressure. I'll try this out

  9. Love your videos! In the future, could you make a video on supine self cervical traction using a small towel?

  10. Hi Doctor Jo, a few days ago I got a rotator cuff injury. Now, when I do a chin tuck or look down, I get enormous pressure inside my left armpit, my lat and a dull throb in the outer side of my elbow 🙁

  11. Thank you so much,between a car accident years ago combined with sitting stationary for hours working with a desktop. My upper traps and neck has been causing much pain in the lower head to shoulders,these exercises have helped me so much that I already feel relief.Will follow up daily and continue to strechhhhhhh ! Can,t say it enough Thank you,Dr Jo !!!!

  12. when i look up my arm feels odd and my hand gets pins and needles with massive pain in my shoulder whats the healing time with this..

  13. Regarding the chin tuck exercise starting at 2:30 – I have cervical radiculopathy (verified with MRI) and I am finding this exercise very painful to do.  Is it better to do it and fight through the pain, or is it better to avoid the movements that are very painful.  On the one hand I'm aggravating inflammation, but if I don't do the exercises how can I help speed up my recovery?  I have conflicting expert opinions on this, was just wondering about your thoughts? Thanks.

  14. I thought the problem was in my shoulder because that’s where I thought I felt it. Until I did these stretches. It was extremely painful but I’ll do them again tomorrow.

  15. Hello I I got this radiating pain since a year and that pain radiates through the left side of the chest arm and feels dizzy some times !! Will this excercise help me

  16. Thank you! Thank you! I am awaiting physical therapy and doing these at the recommendation of my doctor. I am hoping for relief from the pain in my right arm.

  17. Hi Doc. I tried all of these and ended up in tears. I don't think there's any cure for my situation. Makes me wanna cut my arm off it's so frustrating. :/

  18. Hi doctor jo, i came to see this video just now. But i am confused which excersice i should follow. As before i was following excersice from your video for cervical spondylosis. But i have disc protrusion on c6-c7 and pinched nerve condition . so which excersice should i follow for my condition.. pls suggest.

  19. Hi Dr. Jo. Thank you for this video. All the others basically say take aspirin or hot & cold packs. The reason for my search is what I believe is a pinched nerve behind my right shoulder blade which is causing tingling & numbness in my right arm & this weird aching in my armpit (feels like a toothache). This all came out of nowhere. My question is do you think radiculopathy is what I should be focusing on or do you suggest another one of your videos? Thanks in advance

  20. How long might it take to feel results provided I'm doing the exercises daily? And is there a reason for the flare up initially? Is it strictly posture or is it the mattress, sleeping position, pillow, Etc? Been dealing with this for months and I am looking for what may have cosden in the first place.

  21. Shot in the dark, as this was posted a while ago. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, I’ve had a history of blood clots in my lungs. I’m on blood thinners for life and they work.

    I also have hypermobility syndrome. My hips pop in and out, things like that.

    While moving recently, I found my hands to be in a great amount of pain. I took a rest and my right hand started to go numb. So, I’ve been doing exercises like this, although yours is more of a modification and better than what I was given!

    During the stretches, I won’t call it pain, but I can feel the numbness in my right hand get tingly. Is this normal?

  22. Hello doctor,
    I am a student I have to sit for a long duration for studies. About 4 months back I started noticing numbness and tingling in little and ring finger of my left arm, lower left portion of face(heaviness) and a little weakness in my left leg.
    I underwent a brain MRI which was normal. My X rays of lumbar and cervical region are also normal. The heaviness in the lower left face irritates me a lot. And when I do the strethcing of neck (the same were told to me by my physiotherapist) I feel a stretch and feeble pain in full left face and eye too.
    Please can you tell me the possible causes and remedies?
    I have had spondylitis pain in the neck region. Is it because of that?

  23. So I have a question regarding another type of stretch that provokes a response from my back: I sit up or stand up tall and touch my chin to my chest. I reach my right arm forward and reach back to the back of my head and pull out and down a bit to try to stretch out my neck. When I do this sometimes, my back area starts to have this weird burningish kind of sensation that will actually kind of spread down my arm to my pinky/ring finger. It lasts for maybe 10-15 seconds before subsiding during the stretch. Is this normal? The reason I do these stretches is due to a sore/tense subocciptal area and stiffish neck.

  24. Many thanks for this video. I am 70 years old and very active. I still ski, hike, bike, and I try to walk at least 10 miles a day. Two months ago I got this annoying dull ache in the middle of my upper back. It only came when I was out walking. Then it spread to my shoulders and then it started to radiate down both my arms and into my hands. A pulsating dull ache.  After doing your exercises the pain immediately disappeared from my arms and shoulders and now I have just a minor pain in the middle of my back. After a week that also disappeared. I do the exercises first thing in the morning and again just before bed. Many thanks.

  25. Hi Doc, just seen your video. I have been diagnosed with cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy. My nerve is pinched on C5 and C6, C4 and C 7 have mild spinal stenosis. Are the exercises you are showing helpful for this type of problem? Thank you for helping 🙂

  26. Dr. Jo, my wife has been diagnosed with a chronical tennis arm about 3 years ago. She can not work in her original profession as a cook anymore. All medical therapies, medications, steroid injections, acupuncture, etc. have not helped, she still gets a swollen arm and has pain. She went to a physiotherapist but had to stop after 2 sessions after her pain became much more. Do you suggest any physio treatment which can help her? Thank you very much.

  27. Hi Dr Jo
    First of all thank you so much for uploading such wonderful videos
    One of friend recommended me your channel.
    Actually I have a question for you related to my pain
    I hurt myself at work almost 1 month before
    My pain was limited to only lower back,
    But then progressed to upper back especially in between the shoulders.
    I tried naproxen and then baclofen These both helped me but not much
    At present i have severe pain around my neck area radiating to my right arm
    Now am taking lyrica?
    Could you please tell me what’s going on and how long it will take to recover

    Thank you

  28. Thank you these are helpful and a lot easier than pronouncing 'radiculopathy' (I sound radiculous when I say it!).

  29. I have a lot of crackling in my neck along with the DDD and radiculopathy. Will these exercises help get rid of the crackling?

  30. Thank you superwoman. First one was very useful. I should have watched this video 2years back…

  31. I can't do that first exercise. Can't even lift my arm that way without severe shooting pain. Doc said pinched nerve but I'm not so sure?

  32. If my left arm is the problematic arm, which side do I need to do the nerve glide on? Left hand up, neck moves left? Or right hand up, neck moves right?

  33. Hiya DrJo. I am Self diagnosed c6-c7 problems, excruciating pain at top of the shoulder and pins and needles down down to finger tip of index finger. If these exercises cause ANY pain should I stop? My physio has given me similar moves to make and some are so painful, should I battle through the pain? Thank you for your video 🙂

  34. My husband has a pinched never running down his arm into his fingers. Been like this for 2 weeks and our Dr has just left him with painkillers and anti inflammatories ! My husband is worried that he will never get better. As well as the pain down him arm he has numbness in his fingers and a heavy feeling in his arm. Will this all go away in time? He wants to get back to work as soon as he can but can't when he has these symptoms. Thank you xx

  35. These exercises feel great! They're variations on other ones I've picked up on from PT, but somehow they feel more effective. Thank you for posting this. I've had numbness and referred pain in my left index finger for the better part of 2 years, thanks to cervical radiculopathy. I feel for anyone going through this, as it's been a persistent condition. I've done various treatments and yoga/meditation to strengthen and relieve tension. This has all helped but I still have that lingering 5% of the symptoms. As soon as I did the first round of your suggested exercises, I felt relief. I'm eager to add this to my recovery routine and will report back!

  36. Trying to do these laying down I can't sit up I'm too dizzy. I was punched in the back of the neck years ago and it left me with permanent damage

  37. Hi Doctor Jo! Question. I was Diagnosed with Cervical radiculopathy 3 months ago exactly & I'm almost completely pain free in my arm and shoulder. But pain in the neck is what's been bothering me lately is this normal.? Or does should I just give it some more time. I was told it was mild c3 c4 Narrowing and spurring 🙁

  38. I’m awaiting an appointment with a chiropractor (assuming I’d start there/I’m lost) and came across this video while researching possibly cause for the pain I’m having. All symptoms point to CR so far so I tried some of these stretches and wow! It was a little painful the first time but I actually received some instant pain relief. Thank you so much for sharing – I was dying!!!

  39. Wow, Thank you! Is it possible for a shoulder pinch to affect face, torso, buttock, arm, thigh, lrg? I thought it was a stroke, but an mri said it wasn't. However 1 day on, it is clearly some nerve pinch and when I raised my right arm to do your execises, I got some awful scrunching noises. Aaaargh!

  40. Hi maybe u can help me not sure what it is ..I have pins in needles that come an go in legs an arm but mainly in right leg an left …been doin these exercise an other u have feels alot better…but do u know what it can be doc said aniexty but I dont know about that it jus happen one nite when I was already sleep in bed I had right arm pain an side breast pain…an they ruled as aniexty..then one nite after that I had woke up both legs pins in needle an arms an felt so cold .it was weird..

  41. Let's assume we stick to the routine. How long does it take before we see tangible results? I mean a night of sleep without pain medication. Thanks

  42. Hi Dr Jo, Thank you for your videos. I just started having radiating pins and needles pain through top of my neck and down my left arm. This is after a month or so of chiropractic adjustment for another existing pain on the right side. I wanted to ask you, could chiropractic adjustment have caused the nerve pain on the left side? That used to be my good side before I started PT and chiropractic for the pain on right side! Thank you again!

  43. Buy a printable worksheet with the Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy) Stretches & Exercises in this video here:

  44. Hello Dr. Jo. I started having problems with my hands going numb and tingling when sleeping. Now I’m starting to notice during the day. Today I was doing Hamer curls and I noticed there was a small pop on my forearm causing a minor pinch. The pinch was uncomfortable but I could feel my fingers going numb. Will these glides help me with this problem?

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