Cervical [SUR-vi-kuhl] radiculopathy [ra·DIK·yoo·lop·uh·thee] occurs when a nerve root located in the neck area of the spine becomes compressed or pinched. The condition will cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers. Cervical radiculopathy is often referred to as a pinched nerve.
The spine is a column of 33 bones (vertebrae) stacked up on top of each other. The spine is made up of discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. The spinal column is divided into four regions: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper and mid back), lumbar (lower back), and sacral (buttock and tailbone). As people age, they may begin to experience chronic neck and back pain.
Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root located in the neck area of the spine becomes compressed or pinched. Cervical radiculopathy is often referred to as a pinched nerve. When a nerve root becomes compressed, it will send distress signals to the brain. This will often cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers.
Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Pain that starts in the neck and travels down the arm or arms
- Tingling in the arm, hand, or fingers
- Weakness in the muscles of the arm, shoulder, or hand
- Loss of sensation
See a doctor If you are experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve. Tingling in the arms or hands and muscle weakness may indicate other underlying medical conditions. It is important to talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions.
Cervical radiculopathy is often caused by the natural “wear-and-tear” changes that occur as people age. Conditions that may pinch spinal nerves include:
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing)
- Bone spurs or arthritis
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Misaligned bones
Your physician will do a complete medical history and physical exam to rule out other potential causes of your pain. Other tests may include:
- X-rays, which are used to look for broken bones, spinal alignment, or other injuries to the spine.
- Computerized tomography (CT), which is used to see spinal structures that cannot be seen on conventional x-rays. This test will often detect disc rupture, spinal stenosis, tumors, or other alignments that cause the pinched nerve.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a magnetic force to create computer-generated images of soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The test can also detect problems such as infections, tumors, disc herniation, or pressure on a nerve.
- Electromyogram (EMG), which is a test that can check nerve and muscle function.
Most people with cervical radiculopathy will get better over time and will not need treatment. If the symptoms do not resolve on their own, your healthcare provider may recommend the following treatment options:
- Physical therapy
- Activity modification
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
- Steroid injection
Some measures that may help prevent a pinched nerve include:
- Maintaining good posture
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding or quitting the use of tobacco products
|About Getting in Line and your Arrival Time|
Please arrive at