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C4 C5 C6 C7 Cervical Disc disease. Resolving Chronic Neck Pain.

Cervical disc pain in the C4 C5 C6 C7 region can result in herniation or degeneration of the cervical discs. One frequently overlooked reason for C4 C5 C6 C7  chronic neck pain is tightness in the shoulder and chest region. The cause of degenerative or herniated cervical spine disease is primarily muscular tightness. By fully lengthening the muscles that attach to or surround the neck, herniated or degenerated cervical discs will be allowed to heal. Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is the specialized treatment for C4 C5 C6 C7 chronic neck pain.

Relevance of chest, arm, and shoulder muscle tightness in chronic neck pain

A large percentage of cervical pain cases involve tightness in the upper body, including the shoulders, chest, and upper back. Its even possible to have chronic neck pain with all muscular dysfunction coming from the chest and shoulders; and very little tightness in the neck muscles. The neck rests on the shoulders, chest, and upper back. If the upper body is tight, more pressure is placed on the neck muscles and the cervical discs. Effective treatment for chronic neck pain should begin with opening up the muscles of the chest and shoulders before addressing the neck muscles. Similarly, any self-stretching routine for the neck has to start with stretching of the chest and shoulders muscles. If you start by stretching the neck, the pain will quickly return because the support structure of the neck is not being addressed.

Tips for chronic neck pain

The majority of people sleep on their side. This pushes the shoulder into the shoulder socket, which decreases range of motion in the shoulder joint. The neck muscles run from the skull to the shoulder. So sleeping on the side not only causes inflexibility in the shoulder but also stiffens neck muscles. The best position to sleep is on the back, with the knees and ankles elevated. Put one pillow (the long way) under each leg.
Many people find it difficult to sleep on their back. Developing upper back muscles will provide more mass to the back and make sleeping on the back easier, as the back feels more support. The seated row weight machine at the gym is a good way to start developing the upper back. Using a rowing machine is another good exercise to develop upper back muscles.

Key muscles involved in C4 C5 C6 C7 cervical neck pain

The primary causes of cervical disc disease are weakness or tightness of the upper body muscles. Poor posture creates tightness in the neck muscles. Two key neck muscles that affect herniation or degeneration in C4, C5, C6, or C7, are the sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles. The sternocleidomastoid muscle runs from the front of the chest to the jawline. Tightness in the sternocleidomastoid will cause a forward jutting of the head and neck. The further the head juts ahead of the chest, the more strain is placed on the muscles at the back of the neck. The scalene muscles run along the side of of the neck. They attach to cervical discs C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, and C7; and they attach to the collarbone/shoulder area. When either the sternocleidomastoid or scalene muscles get tight, they create pressure on the cervical discs. Muscles attach to bones. Tightness in the sternocleidomastoid or scalene muscles can cause the cervical discs to bulge, herniate, or degenerate. Proper elongation of the sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles can allow the cervical discs to return inside the spinal column.

The two mentioned neck muscles illustrate my previous point of how lengthening muscles of the upper body facilitates recovery from cervical spine disorders. Muscles work in groups. The sternocleidomastoid muscles lies above the chest muscles. And the scalene muscles lie above the shoulder. If the pectoral (chest) muscles are tight, they are collapsing inward. The sternocleidomastoid neck muscle will follow in the same direction as the chest muscles. Creating a forward pull of the head and neck. Similarly, tight shoulders lurch forward, carrying the head with it. The objective in Active Isolated Stretching is to get the shoulders back; before lengthening the scalene muscles of the neck.

The AIS difference

Stretching has rarely been credited for resolving chronic neck pain. And this is where is must be clarified that Active Isolated Stretching is different than any other type of stretching; whether it is PNF stretching, Thai massage, yoga, or the stretching that we learned in the seventh grade. These forms of stretching cannot repair a cervical herniation or degeneration in C4 C5 C6 C7; Active Isolated Stretching can. One, two, or three neck stretches does not heal a cervical spine disorder. A thorough neck routine in Active Isolated Stretching involves over thirty-eight different upper body movements. Detailed treatment, done correctly, to the upper body allows for long term benefits to the cervical spine.

  C4 C5 C6 C7

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53 Responses to C4 C5 C6 C7 Cervical Disc disease. Resolving Chronic Neck Pain.

  1. Hi Laura Sybil,
    I understand that you are frustrated by the pain you are experiencing and the lack of success in the treatments that you have tried.
    You are not alone. Millions of people worldwide experience similar pain patterns and they are equally frustrated by the medical treatment options that are available to them. Since you do not live close to me, I can offer you a video of exercises to do on your own. You will need to have internet speed that is fast enough to watch videos on your computer. Purchase my upper body video on AIS self-stretching. And if you have forward head posture, then also consider purchasing the lower body video too. Hope you get better, Anthony

  2. Dear Sir/ Madam,
    I have had now going to close a month with this pain radiation in my right hand upto the the thumb. I did an xray and these were the findings

    early osteophytes of the C4, C5 and C6 (early cervical spondylosis)

    I was advised to go for physiotherapy but it todate it has not helped me much.

    could someone kindly advise me on what to do as the paid is so much and yet have not seen any improvement.

  3. Hi Deborah,
    The AIS stretches do take a long time, even when done via AIS self-stretching. You can start at the upper body stretches or the lower body stretches. I recommend that you start from the beginning of either the upper or lower body routines. Don’t just start at the middle of the video. That can be very damaging to your body. You don’t need a practitioner to help you. Currently I have two self-stretching videos for purchase on my website.

  4. Hi Edie K,
    The first issue to address is lengthening the muscles. Active Isolated Stretching does much better at this goal because the techniques are more thorough. AIS addresses more muscle fibers in each target muscle. Then after you get the muscles to lengthen properly, then you begin a muscle strengthening program. Lengthen then strengthen.
    Sent by,
    Anthony Ohm

  5. Hi Ahamed B.,
    I have two videos for purchase on my website. The cost is $39.90 for both. After you make the payment, then you can access the two videos by logging in to my website:
    I have some free videos on youtube, but I don’t recommend that you try and copy the exercises from the youtube videos. The youtube videos are only for promotional purposes. There are many important exercises that are omitted in the youtube videos. And you can get hurt if you try and copy those movements.
    Sent by,
    Anthony Ohm

  6. Very nice and helpful , but I cannot copy or download the video , can you help me to get it downloaded so that by watching my wife can help me to do the exercise please otherwise all the time i have to use internet

  7. How do you address muscle atrophy? Can the muscle regenerate when the tightness is gone and there is no longer pressure on the nerve?

  8. Hi Trisha F.
    Unfortunately, you did not see the message on the C4,C5, C6, C7 youtube video. The youtube video on the beach which you are referring to is not meant for people to copy and practice. This video is only meant for viewing to give people a quick idea of what is AIS. The upper body routine takes two hours! This is a three minute video. You are not supposed to use this youtube video as an instructional video. That is why you are having problems with neck soreness and headaches. Stop doing this immediately. Do not try to teach yourself AIS technique by watching and copying this video! You will get injured!
    I have two videos for purchase on my website that will help you with your neck issues. The lower body video shows the psoas stretch which can help people with neck pain, especially when the person has forward head posture.
    Sent by,
    Anthony Ohm

  9. Hi Anthony,

    I was very excited to run into your website. I have been suffering since Nov. of 2014, with a sudden onset of extreme headaches and muscle pain in my left shoulder running along my neck. I have seen a Physical Therapists, MD’s, Acupuncture & Chiropractor that uses the Gonstead Tech. I have had some positive results from Chiro, but still can not get stabilize.
    I do have C5, C6 Cervical Spondylosis. I did start doing a couple of your exercises to open up the front shoulder, in which my husband did some gently stretches for me after viewing your video. Today I am very sore and it did bring on headache somewhat. My question is should I skip a day between? We are going quite slowly, but wondering what you experience is with other patients in the beginning?

  10. These stretches require a practitioner and I can see why it would be more beneficial than doing on your own. I’m a recreational athlete now sidelined by C4/5 severe degeneration in constant pain. It would be very expensive to hire a practitioner to help and i wonder if down the road, you’d always need a practitioner. I have done many AIS type stretches- nothing helps. Do I need to do all 38? Very time consuming. can they be broken up?


  11. Hi Patric,
    More information on Active Isolated Stretching is available on my website. I have two videos for purchase that teach the viewer how to do a thorough routine to lengthen major muscles of the entire body. I’m interested in making more videos to add to the current offerings. So please check back.
    Sent by, Anthony Ohm

  12. Hi discoowl,
    Muscles work in combination with other muscles. You ask for stretches affecting the scalene and or sternocleidomastoid muscles. These muscles are primary muscles of the neck.
    I highly recommend that you consider doing a series of stretching exercises that start with the chest, shoulders, upper back, and upper arms before addressing the the scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles. The neck muscles have roots that go deep into the midsection of the torso. I have an upper body video for purchase, and the prerequisite to stretching the scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles is to do the muscles of the torso. This is the comprehensive approach to addressing chronic neck pain and dysfunction.
    Sent by, Anthony Ohm

  13. Hi Theresa,
    I looked through my notes, and I couldn’t find your original question. Can you state it again? Please reply back on this format rather than sending me a private message.
    Sent by,
    Anthony Ohm

  14. Hi Janice E.
    Chiropractic treatment can be helpful for chronic neck pain, but it is not the end-all treatment.
    Try the AIS self-stretching videos on this website. Doing the AIS self stretching exercises may improve the quality of your chiropractic sessions. Especially if you do the AIS self-stretching before the chiropractic treatment sessions.

  15. Is chiropractic care a plus or minus for C4, C5, C6, C7 chronic neck pain?
    Thank you

    Janice Estes

  16. Bonnie,

    I have pay-to-view videos that you can purchase and view directly from my website. Please consider this option as it will help you with your situation.

  17. Please help me I have c3 c4 disc bulge c5 c6 disc bulge and lumbar L3 to L5 disc bulge and s1 nerve rebutting. I have rounded shoulders and large breasts. Don’t know if this causes more issues. Help please I’m in pain a lot !!! any advice please.

  18. Hi Kim S.

    I’ve created pay-to-view instructional videos on my website. After payment, you can watch the videos instantaneously on the website.
    I created these videos for people that live far away from my location and are unable to travel for treatment.
    Unfortunately, there are no practitioners on your continent that I know of.
    Kind regards,
    Anthony Ohm

  19. Hi. I have constant pain in my chest, upper back and shoulders and have degenerative disc problems. Can you recommend someone in Sydney, Australia that can help me. My quality of life has decreased dramatically as I am in constant pain.

    Kind regards
    Kim Sampson

  20. To Tracy B.

    Resolving the pain in your C5, C6 neck region is a two step process. First, it involves AIS stretching to open up compacted muscles. AIS stretching will bring new blood flow to the muscles that surround the problem area. Waste products have been collected in restricted muscles due to poor circulation. After, you have lengthened the muscles, then you strengthen the muscles. This is the primary philosophy of Active Isolated Stretching. I created the pay-to-view instructional videos so that people can start a rehabilitation program on their own, regardless of how far away they are from an AIS practitioner.

  21. I have been looking for this article for so long!
    Weeping as I write.
    Knowing damage to c4/c5 & c5/c6 are occurring & my extreme neck pain. Breathing difficulties. Upper body weakness. I have known something was up for awhile.
    Used to do rowing bigtime.
    Need to do alot of strengthening!!
    Also have issues at T11/T12.
    L4/L5. L5/S1.

  22. Muscles attach to ligaments which attach to vertebrae, not cervical discs.

    People recovering from surgery, waiting for surgery, or those with degenerated/herniated cervical discs have no business being on a rowing machine or doing seated rows with weights unless you’re recommending everyone experience herniated/ruptured discs and cervical fusions.

    Sleeping on your back can also put you at risk for further injury or at the very least a very painful wake up the next morning if you’ve had a fusion because when your head falls to one side as you sleep, all those muscles stretch too far or go into spasm.

    People should be forewarned.

  23. Hi Sherrill,
    Sleeping on the side is the most common position that people sleep. This position pushes the shoulder into the shoulder socket which compresses muscles that affect the shoulder joint and the neck. The neck and the shoulder are fraternal twins. If you damage one, the other gets damaged as a consequence. I recommend that you sleep on your back. Elevate your legs by putting pillows underneath your knees and ankles. This will help your circulation. The height of the pillows doesn’t have to be high.

  24. I have had problems with the C4 and 5 waking in the night with numbing and tingling in both arms. Sometimes laying on side and sometimes on back. I am so afraid of permanent damage but on the other hand so very afraid of surgery. What you are saying makes so much sense. Thank you

  25. i also suffer from c6 and 7 have had fizi but they cant do no more for me it gives me headaches my right wrist is swollen with it and also my right hand is weak i drop things easily

  26. To Linda F.

    You are becoming experienced in the frustrating cycle of ineffective treatment for physical pain problems. Ineffective treatment for chronic pain is prevalent throughout the world. This is a major reason why people become addicted to painkillers. People become frustrated with conventional treatment not working, these people express their frustration to their physician. The doctor prescribes some medication to temporarily reduce the pain. And then starts a pattern of reaching for the temporary feel good medication which is only masking the symptoms.
    My website is about using Active Isolated Stretching therapy as an form of treatment for neck and shoulder pain. Typically, people who have come to AIS treatment have done so after all conventional treatment has failed. People are searching for something that will work, and my recommendation is different and sensible.
    The answer to your problem could be easily overlooked. For decades physicians and surgeons have focused on the disc as the area to correct. AIS therapy states that inflexibility in the muscles is the leading cause for disc malfunction. AIS therapy treats the muscles surrounding the problem area to encourage a healing process. The AIS process is a departure from conventional rehabilitation techniques.
    Chiropractic care hasn’t been so successful in treating shoulder problems. And taking tests is helpful to get a correct evaluation of what you have. But after taking a test, the physician’s recommendation may not be the best course of treatment.
    I work with AIS therapists in Los Angeles, California; New York city, and Honolulu, Hawaii. Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Anthony Ohm

  27. I have been suffering with shoulder and neck pain for3 months been to my Dr.and now am doing PT.. I am in my third week of PT am not showing too much improvement according to my physical therpist.
    I feel very slight improvement but still have pain. my DR thinks it is muscular or a pinched nerve.
    My questions is how likely is this to be a misdiagonosed condition. ?Could it be a disc in my neck?? What should be my next step? I have a degenrated disc in my back on the same side as this pain been living with this for ten yrs and have it under control with meds and exercise. I have not had a Cat Scan or MRI for my neck yet . Which would show a disc. problem? don t want to waste money on a wrong test. or too much radiation or should I just go to the Chiropractor shots or differ meds?Thanks for any info.

  28. Hi Zarin,

    I am working on a video series that will be available on my website.
    If you join my facebook fan page or follow me on twitter, than you will receive a message when the videos are available.
    Look on the upper right side of my website. See where it says, “Follow me,” click on any of those buttons (facebook fan page, twitter, or youtube channel) and you will get a message when the videos are available for purchase.
    Sent by,
    Anthony Ohm

  29. i am suffering from osteophytosis in c4 c5 c6 c7 which gives me constant dizziness n about your exercises but nowhere mentioned how often to do in a day n week.if i want your book where do i get it n wat is the name of tht book.pls let me know.thanx


  30. Anthony Ohm wrote:

    Hi Caren,

    I understand your frustration. But there’s a lot of hope for you. Firstly, we have to understand that allopathic medicine (traditional medical doctors) are not doing a good job in this field of physical pain. This is not to say that they are bad across the board, but in this one area of health services, their treatment options are less than stellar.
    The second strongest lobbyist group in Washington D.C. is the pharmaceutical industry. (The first strongest lobbyist group is the oil industry). The influence that the pharmaceutical industry places on public policy affects how ordinary citizens are treated for chronic physical pain. Other treatment possibilities exist, but you have to look for them actively.
    Keep searching. Look outside the box.
    And stay away from addictive painkillers.

  31. I have been diagnosed with degeneration in C5 & C6. I have been suffering pains in my upper limbs for the last 4 years and have visited my doctor on numerous occasions asking for a diagnosis. Only recently after my second phase of physio it was suggested by the therapist to have a X-ray. I’m distraught knowing I will never be pain free. Any advice welcomed. Caren

  32. Hi Wayne,

    I am coming out with a new video series for AIS self-stretching for the neck. The video series is going to cover the entire upper body because neck issues have everything to do with the muscles of the chest, shoulders, upper back, and upper arms. Yes, there is also going to be stretching exercises for the neck muscles too. However, one major reason that conventional stretching methods for neck pain have failed is because they do not see the relationship between neck muscles and the other upper body muscles that I previously mentioned.
    First, I plan to release some free videos on youtube about preliminary neck stretches that involve the chest.
    My youtube channel is “resolve your pain.”
    Anthony Ohm

  33. Great video. I have c6, c7 hearniated disk causing constant head pressure for 5 months now. Went through all the steps, doctor, pain clinic, going to see surgen now. Do you have a video I can purchase of these exercises I can do my self. Thank you.

  34. I would like more info on this treatment as my daughter’s MRI showed 5 herniated discs. We would like to explore this method of recovery rather than pain medication and physical therapy. Thank you, Janet Getter

  35. A very helpful website.

    I have had issues with my cervical neck for at least since 2007 when I had a scan of my neck. The scan reported degeneration multilevels and stenosis. I have gait problems, balance problems and a speech dysfunction which is getting worse. I am female of 72 years.

    Should I find a physiotherapist that can help with exercise or do you think I need something more drastic such as surgery.

    Kindest regards,

  36. I saw your video. Can you recommend or are you work in Los Angeles? I have very tigth shoulder and upper body

  37. Hi Rob H.
    Yes, I am available in Honolulu, Hawaii. And yes, I am within walking distance from Waikiki. My location is very close to the Waikiki-Kapahulu public library. See you soon. You’ll be feeling better.
    Anthony Ohm

  38. I’ve been suffering from chronic neck pain for two years. My shoulder tends to flare up as well. I’m staying in Waikiki, Honolulu on the Island of Oahu. I’d like to set up an appointment. Can I walk there from Waikiki? I found your article to be very persuasive. I’ve tried conventional treatments and the pain has not subsided. I hope you are available.
    Rob Hutchens

  39. Hi Patric,

    Yesterday I added a new page on “Sports.” Its on the navigation bar and it has a drop down menu. I’ll be adding more pages about sports performance, sports injuries, and going into detail about specific sports like tennis, swimming, and football.


  40. I too have issues with C7, Dowengers Hump, skull moved forward, etc. I’d love to try this AIS. Anyone from this area experienced in AIS?
    Thanks for your website.

  41. Hi Tammie,

    I completely acknowledge your pain and suffering. I myself went thru a similar experience with my low back pain. I came to the resolution that continually seeking help from medical doctors wasn’t going to give me an effective solution. The pain medication is only going to mask the symptoms and never get to the underlying cause. Millions of people are addicted to pain medication that started thru this pathway. You’ve found my website and I am introducing you to Active Isolated Stretching therapy. This method is not known by physicians and surgeons. And it can really help resolve the pain problems you are experiencing. Depending on your area you live in, there may be a skilled AIS practitioner. However, you may have to travel to get the best treatment.
    Anthony Ohm

  42. Hi Ray,

    I’m happy to provide you new information about chronic neck pain and dysfunction. The news I am presenting is very simple (and yet still widely unknown). Namely that the muscular system is tied to the nervous system and the skeletal system. Because AIS is the best treatment for muscular issues, it automatically helps repair nerve pain, herniated disc issues, and neuropathy. After a few treatment sessions, you’ll feel a highly improved range of motion in the cervical region. And if you follow the home program, the benefits will last.
    Best regards,
    Anthony Ohm

  43. Hi Ray Bix,

    What area do you live? The best course of treatment is to first start with treatment with a trained therapist, then to do the self-stretching afterwards.

  44. I have been having pain on the right side of my arm and neck froma pinched nerve. I have been on a lot of medication that’s not working. I have been to the er for the last 2 months and they won’t give me any more pain medication. I have been hurting really bad and the pain just won’t stop at all. I have had x-rays, ct scans, and mri’s done this last month. I really don’t know what else to do. the muscle relaxers and everything else won’t work. I have been in pain the last 2 months. I just hurts really bad. I wish I know what else to do.

  45. Great article & video which gave me new insight into my problem. I am scheduled for therapy and will persue this approach. Is it possible for a patient to perform these exercises correctly without the aid of a trained therapist?

  46. Hi Jeff,
    Repairing a herniated cervical disc may require something else besides chiropractic adjustments. The sad news is that there are not enough Active Isolated Stretching experts throughout the country to treat everyone with disc issues. The simple view is that a herniated cervical disc in C4, C5, C6 has a lot to do with muscular tension in the muscles of the chest, upper arms, shoulders, and neck muscles. Lengthening those areas will unwind the tension that is causing the discs to herniate.
    Let me know if I can offer more information.

  47. I have a herniated disk c4 c5 c6. It is very painful. I am going to a c.p. but not much if any relef.

  48. To get an effective stretch to the scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles or any neck muscles, its critical to start with the muscles of the chest and shoulders. Please check back, more videos are on the way.

  49. can you provide these stretches? maybe scalene / sternocleidomastoid stretches one can perform by one self?

    thanks in advance

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Anthony Ohm is a pain specialist and a sports therapist. The technique is called Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening(AIS). Treatment is available in Honolulu, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California The AIS method is highly beneficial for: disc issues, chronic physical pain, pain related to aging, arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, neuropathy, Parkinson's disease, and much much more... However you are presenting, whether you are crippled or a professional athlete, AIS treatment will put you in better physical condition than your current state.