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Cervical Radiculopathy

What is cervical radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is a condition characterized by the irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the cervical (neck) region of the spine. Because these nerves travel to the shoulders, arms, and hands, an injury or issue in the cervical spine can cause symptoms in these areas. 

What causes cervical radiculopathy?  

There are a few common causes of cervical radiculopathy: 

  • – Herniated disc: A herniated or ruptured disc in the cervical spine can cause the soft inner material to bulge outward and press on a nearby nerve root. 
  • – Degenerative disc disease: As spinal discs weaken with age, the vertebrae above and below can shift out of position, pinching the nerve roots. 
  • – Spinal stenosis: Degeneration of the bones, discs, or joints in the spine can lead to the formation of bone spurs that encroach on the spinal canal or foramen space, compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots. 

What are the symptoms of cervical radiculopathy?  

The most common symptoms of cervical radiculopathy involve pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the shoulders, arms, and hands. The specific symptoms depend on which nerve root is affected: 

  • – C5 nerve root: Shoulder and upper arm pain/weakness 
  • – C6 nerve root: Shoulder, arm, and forearm pain/weakness 
  • – C7 nerve root: Neck, shoulder, arm, and hand pain/weakness 

How do you treat cervical radiculopathy?  

Treatment for cervical radiculopathy typically involves a combination of the following: 

  • – Conservative therapies like rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and spinal decompression 
  • – Interventional treatments such as epidural steroid injections to reduce inflammation 
  • – Surgical options like disc herniation removal or spinal decompression if conservative treatments are ineffective 

The specific treatment plan is tailored to the underlying cause and severity of the individual’s symptoms, in close consultation with their healthcare provider.

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