Neck problems can result in an affected range of motion and associated symptoms. These commonly include neck pain, sometimes with tingling fingers and hands. This is often due to neck pain, with muscle tightness caused due to a condition affecting the cervical vertebrae. While medication and physical therapy help, some exercises for tingling fingers and hands.
Regular neck exercises protect your joints and soft tissue surrounding the neck. An ideal exercise program consists of flexibility, stretching, and strengthening exercises. Flexibility neck exercises can help reduce stiffness and improve elasticity and your range of motion. Stretching can help stretch the muscles to ease free movement and strengthening helps build muscles to support the joint movement. These comprise exercises for tingling fingers and hands and can help in relieving the symptoms.
A report published in 2017 reviewed eight studies regarding the effectiveness of exercise in office workers with non-specific neck pain. In these, stretching and strengthening neck exercises were performed. It concluded that endurance and stretching exercises showed significant improvement in neck pain as compared to performing no exercises.1
Tingling Fingers and Hands
There are several reasons for tingling in fingers and hands. While some of them can be related to circulatory problems most of them are associated with joint and muscle problems with neurological involvement. Neck pain is the commonest presentation, muscle spasms, cervical disc problems, degeneration, and herniated disc are mainly involved.
The common symptoms of tingling fingers and hands include affected range of motion, difficulty in raising the arm, or repetitive use. Exercises for tingling fingers and hands also focus on improving these symptoms.
In a 2015 study, an 8-week intensive home-exercise therapy program was given to intensive care nurses having neck problems. It showed significant improvement in cervical range of motion in flexion, extension, lateral flexion, rotation, and lumbar range of motion.2
Tingling fingers and hands may begin suddenly or gradually after an injury or some discomfort. People often experience an event of sudden impact or jerky movement before the pain began. A cervical herniated disc can cause symptoms of nerve involvement like burning pain, tingling, and numbness. It causes neck and arm pain with impingement of nerves, along with tingling fingers and hands. This is common in degenerative disorders affecting the cervical vertebrae. An intervertebral disc is composed of annulus fibrous, which is a dense collagen ring that encloses the nucleus pulposus. Due to the regular wear and tear or degeneration that occurs with aging, the soft tissue gets weakened. As a result, the nucleus pulposus or a part of it protrudes through the collagen ring. It can happen suddenly owing to a sudden jerk or trauma. It can occur more commonly in people suffering from connective tissue disorders and some congenital disorders.3 Cervical disc herniation commonly occurs between C5-C6 and C6-C7 vertebral bodies, which results in symptoms at the C6 and C7 levels. Common symptoms include neck pain, arm pain, numbness, and tingling in one or both arms along with tingling in fingers and hands.
Exercises for Tingling Fingers and Hands
Exercises for tingling fingers and hands include flexibility exercises to improve the cervical range of motion, and stretching and strengthening exercises to relieve the tensed muscles and pinched nerves.
These flexibility exercises for tingling fingers and hands are easy to perform.
- Chin Tucks – Sit upright with your shoulders straight. Gently pull your chin inwards towards your chest, without bending the neck, and look straight. Feel the stretch and then release. Repeat this 5 to10 times.
- Look Up (Cervical Extension) – Take the chin tuck position and turn your neck upwards, look up towards the ceiling, without raising the shoulders. Do it comfortably and come back to the original position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Look Down (Cervical Flexion) – With the same chin tuck position and turn your neck downwards, look down towards the floor, without bending your back. Do it comfortably and come back to the original position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Turning Your Neck – Sit upright with your shoulders straight. Gently turn your neck towards the left, looking towards your extreme left without bending, and then bring it back to the original position. Then move your neck to the right side and follow the same process. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Side Bend (Lateral flexion) – Slowly tilt your neck to the left such that your left ear moves towards the left shoulder, without bending the neck forward or backward. Hold and feel the stretch on the opposite side of the neck muscles. Now repeat the same on the right side. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Shoulder muscles support the neck movement so improving the range of motion of the shoulder joint is also an aim of exercises for tingling fingers and hands. These include
- Shoulder Shrugs – Stand straight with your arms by your sides. Gently raise your shoulders upwards as if you are shrugging. Hold for a second and release. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Arm Front Raises – Stand straight with your arms by your sides. Raise your arms towards the front, with elbows straight, and join your hands, palms touching each other and raising them to reach above your head. Bring it down slowly and back into the original position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Arm Side Raises – Begin by keeping the arms stretched by the sides. Raise both arms from the sides to reach above your head and form a salutation pose with elbows straight, palms touching each other, and fingers pointing to the ceiling. Bring it down slowly and back into the original position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Shoulder Rotations – Stand straight with your arms by your sides. Raise your left hand in the front with the elbows straight and rotate it from the shoulders, first clockwise and then anticlockwise. Repeat this 5 times. Then perform the exercise with the right arm and rotate the right shoulder, repeating 5 times.
- Side Bends – With the same position and hands stretched upwards perform side bends by slightly bending your back. Perform once on the left and then on the right side to feel the stretch in the shoulder and upper back.
- Twists – Stand straight and place both hands on your hips. Twist your upper back to the left and turn to see the extreme left, as much as possible. Repeat the same on the right side.
Resistance exercises are best done under an expert’s guidance after the range of motion exercises. These are done to improve the strength of the muscles and tissues around the neck and shoulders. In this, the shoulder exercises can be performed using weights, beginning with smaller weights of half kg and then gradually proceeding to one kg, under the supervision of the physical therapist.
Most of these exercises for tingling fingers and hands help in improving muscle strength and keep the soft tissue flexible. However, which exercises to perform if there is severe neck pain, due to an injury, cervical herniated disc, or an acute condition is best decided by the physical therapist. With gradual improvement in the condition, the exercises should be stepped up in a graded manner aiming to regain the full potential of the tissues and improve the range of motion. For chronic complaints regular, gentle stretching and range of motion exercises work best along with strength training and should be included in the exercises for tingling fingers and hands. Till complete recovery is achieved it is best to avoid other exercises, high-impact exercises, jerky movements, and contact sports.