Defining and Treating Cervical Radiculopathy

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Defining and Treating Cervical Radiculopathy

doctor holding model of spine

You may have never heard of cervical radiculopathy, but you’re likely familiar with a “pinched nerve.” Both are names for the same condition that causes pain and discomfort resulting from irritation to a nerve in the neck. Different treatment options exist.

When doctors talks about nerve roots C1 through C8, they are referring to the cervical nerves in the neck area branching out to muscles that help the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers function. Cervical nerves also carry sensory fibers to the skin that provide sensation.

Any condition that compresses or irritates a cervical nerve can cause cervical radiculopathy. Common causes include:

Herniated Disc. Think of a spinal disc as a cream filled donut – it has a soft center enclosed by a hardened exterior. A herniated disc occurs when the softer interior of the disc pushes through a tear in the exterior. Nearby nerves are irritated, causing pain, numbness or weakness in the arms.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis. This condition is the narrowing of the open spaces within your spine in the neck area. The most commonly reported symptoms include tingling, weakness and numbness.

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease. This condition is a common cause of cervical radiculopathy in people over age 50. Degenerative discs become flatter and stiffer, offering less support to the spine. The condition can cause a nearby nerve root to become inflamed.

Combining a variety of treatment options often provides pinched nerve relief. Resting or reducing strenuous activities, applying ice or heat to reduce inflammation physical therapy can help.

Cervical epidural steroid injections reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief, allowing the root cause of the pinched nerve to be found. Schedule an appointment with Preferred Pain Management to discuss this pain treatment option.