Treating radicular symptoms can be frustrating and painstakingly slow. There is no doubt, however, that if left untreated the symptoms can worsen and significantly impact the patient’s life.
The primary goal, as we mentioned in the first blog post, is to centralize the symptoms. This is done by:
- Tilting the head away from the symptomatic side and holding for 30 seconds every hour (gapping the nerve)
- Neck retractions that are performed properly (pain-free) and very frequently (X10 every hour)
- Mobilizing the upper back to reduce the need for the neck to compensate and move too much
- Squeezing the shoulder blades together as far as the can go while looking up X10 repetitions every hour
- Mobilizing the nerve through nerve gliding/flossing exercises
This would be the basic exercise plan that will get the healing process started. It’s important to remember that even once a nerve is ‘decompressed’ or is no longer irritated, it would still need time to heal. In the same way that a bruise that is no longer pressed on or hit does not disappear instantaneously, the ‘decompressed’ nerve will still require some time to heal once the irritation is minimized.
A physiotherapist or a chiropractor would be able to speed up the process through the following:
- Improving the mobility of the upper back with passive techniques
- Passively ‘gapping’ the neck joint involved in irritating the nerve in question
- Passively stretching accessory muscles that are keeping the system in a malfunctioning state (pectorals, trapezius, etc.)
Radiculopathy is a serious and extremely bothersome condition that impacts individuals of all different occupations. Seeing a physiotherapist or chiropractor who truly understands the condition is essential to get it resolved as quickly as possible.