Foraminal narrowing is a painful condition that occurs when one of the small openings in the spinal column (a foramen) becomes compressed, possibly due to a bone spur, a bulging disc or another condition. Because nerve roots exit through these small openings, any compression can cause radiating pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. The C5-C6 spinal segment is located near the middle of the cervical (upper) spine.
Many foraminal narrowing patients are able to find relief through conservative treatments, including pain medication and corticosteroid injections. In addition to those methods, you may be able to ease your pain by performing the following neck stretches:
- Neck rotation. Begin by looking straight forward. Slowly turn your head toward your right shoulder. Hold, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat five times, then repeat another five times on the left side.
- Neck side bend. Begin by looking straight forward. Slowly tilt your head to the right until your ear is almost touching your right shoulder. Hold, then slowly raise your head to the starting position. Repeat five times, then repeat another five times on the left side.
- Chin tuck. Begin by looking straight forward. Slowly tuck your chin toward your chest until they almost touch. Hold, then slowly raise your head to the starting position. Repeat five times.
- Chin raise. Begin by looking straight forward. Slowly tilt your head backward until you are looking at the ceiling. Hold, then slowly lower your head back down to the starting position. Repeat five times.
All of the stretches listed above can be performed from a sitting or standing position. Always make sure to perform these stretches slowly, and to not stretch past the point of comfort. As with any form of exercise, you should check with your physician before attempting these stretches.
If you’ve attempted to ease the pain associated with C5-C6 foraminal narrowing using stretching or other conservative treatments, but have been unable to find relief, please contact USA Spine Care today. We perform a minimally invasive foraminotomy that helps to relieve the pain associated with foraminal narrowing by removing whatever is compressing the affected nerve. We will be happy to perform a free MRI review* to let you know whether you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive surgeries.
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