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What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that occurs when one of the nerve roots in the neck is compressed or damaged, resulting in pain, numbness, altered reflexes, and weakness in the shoulders, arms, and/or hands. This condition is often referred to as a "pinched nerve" in the neck.

If you are dealing with persistent neck pain and tingling sensations in your arms and hands, it is possible that you have cervical radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy commonly arises as a result of age-related changes in the spine, such as arthritis. In younger individuals, it is usually caused by a sudden injury that results in a herniated disk. This condition seems to peak in a person's 40s or 50s.

In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for cervical radiculopathy so that you can learn more about this condition and get the help you need.

Causes of cervical radiculopathy

Let us examine the potential causes of cervical radiculopathy:

  1. Herniated disc:

It occurs when the tough outer layer of a spinal disc tears, allowing the jelly-like center to protrude and press against nerve roots or the spinal cord. This pressure may cause irritation and inflammation of the nearby nerve roots.

  1. Degenerative disc disease:

It occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in the spine begin to wear down and degenerate over time. This can lead to instability of the vertebrae and cause the spinal nerve to become compressed and irritated.

  1. Spinal stenosis:

This condition is caused by a narrowing of the spine, which can lead to a decreased amount of space available for the nerve roots. When this happens, it can put pressure on the nerves and cause the nerve root to become pinched or compressed.

  1. Spinal injury:

Spinal injuries such as fractures, dislocations, and other traumatic injuries can cause nerve roots to become compressed or pinched, leading to cervical radiculopathy.

Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy

Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy vary depending on which nerve root is compressed, but can include:

  • Pain

  • Numbness

  • Weakened reflexes

  • Muscle weakness

  • Weakness in the shoulders, arms, and/or hands

  • Tingling or burning sensation in the affected area

  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks

Cervical radiculopathy can have a wide range of symptoms, and each person may experience different symptoms from others. It is important to seek immediate medical attention in order to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Cervical radiculopathy: Diagnosis and tests

Your healthcare provider will initiate the diagnosis by asking you to explain your symptoms and reviewing your medical history. They may also perform a physical exam that includes a check of your neck, arms, shoulders, and hands to look for muscle weakness, changes in reflexes, or problems with sensation.

Other tests may also include radiographs, advanced imaging such as an MRI or CT scan, and electrodiagnostic testing to examine the nerve root, check how the nerves are functioning, and confirm the diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy.

Treatment options for cervical radiculopathy

From conservative therapies to surgical interventions, there is a wide range of treatment options for those suffering from cervical radiculopathy. Individuals can choose from a variety of interventions tailored to their specific needs and lifestyles, allowing them to find the best solution for their condition.

Treatment options may include rest, medications, physical therapy, and/or injections. A cervical epidural, which is an x-ray guided steroid injection, can be done to help alleviate the pain and help a patient regain function and mobility. If the condition does not improve with conservative treatments, surgery may be recommended.

Severe cases of cervical radiculopathy

In some cases, cervical radiculopathy may worsen despite treatment, with numbness and/or weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand increasing in duration. If left untreated, the deficits can become irreversible or lead to paralysis. If conservative treatments are not effective in managing symptoms and nerve compression is confirmed, surgery may be the best option to decompress the nerve and return the patient to full function.

Get treatment for your chronic neck pain

If you are suffering from cervical radiculopathy or chronic neck pain and you are seeking medical advice, our team of licensed physicians can give you the best personalized treatment and quality care.

Pinnacle Orthopaedics has a team of licensed physicians and physical therapists that will create a specialized treatment plan for you to help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. Get the relief you deserve from our experienced team!

To book a consultation, you can call us at 770-427-5717. If you are searching online for reliable "Orthopedics near me", our clinics are conveniently located to serve you. Visit the clinic near you:

Take charge of your health today and reach out to us to see how we can support you in achieving your wellness goals. Call us today!


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.