Q. How to recover from intermittent cervical pain?

Answered by
Dr. S. Riaz Ahmed
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 01, 2019

Hello doctor,

Last year started to work out in the gym for six months and made good gains in strength-wise and stamina wise. After some months, my left arm became very hard and painful while doing weights. Later cervical pain also started. And because of it, I have stopped my gym activity completely. Orthopedic referred me for physiotherapy after taking cervical and spinal MRI.

Currently, the cervical pain is intermittent and left arm still pains if any weight is lifted. I have noticed one thing while doing bench press the pressure comes on behind the neck muscles. Someone told me about nerve hardening. Also, left-hand faces are tingling if I sleep on the left side. I am doing physio exercise regularly. I want to recover and restart my gym activity. It has been over a year, and still, the problem is not getting resolved. I do not even know what steps to take towards recovery.



Welcome to

I reviewed your symptoms, and it seems at second levels of the upper neck, a cervical region the disc bulges are pressing on C4, C5, C6 roots, and incidentally, it supplies shoulder girdle as well upper arm muscles including biceps. The paraesthesia, what we call for tingling sensation is again because of the above.

First of all, I would advise to be off from weight lifting for a few months and not only that any heavy lifting objects, riding a two-wheeler, sleeping with high pillow must be restricted. For physical exercise, you can have walking briskly, and I insist on undergoing planned programmed physical therapy in your place itself. If pain persists, you can have Naproxen 500 to 1000 mg daily for 10 days. Proper sitting methods while in a job and avoid computer screen viewing for hours and altering your lifestyle would alleviate and make you feel better over time, instead if you strain yourself with heavy gym exercise, things will go worse.

Investigations to be done:

You may need repeat MRI after 6 to 10 months to assess the size of disc protrusion

Treatment plan:

Naproxen 500 to 1000 mg once a day for 10 days.

Preventive measures:

Avoid intense exercise.

Thank you doctor,

It has been more than a year, I have stopped the exercise. And it is more than six months of daily physiotherapy. But it is not helping.



Welcome back to

It is good you are off from gym exercise, but I insist on being away from driving two-wheeler as well others as mentioned in my report before. A soft collar may assist you for an undue strain on the neck but to use time to time and not permanently. Sitting posture, especially with computers, needs to be rectified and your physio therapist may help in all these.

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