Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy

More commonly referred to as a pinched nerve, a cervical radiculopathy is a dysfunction of or damage to a nerve root of the cervical spine. Damage may occur as a result of pressure from material from a ruptured disc, degenerative changes in bones, arthritis or other injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots.

Causes

Cervical radiculopathy is caused by compression or irritation of the nerves as they exit the spine. This can be due to a ruptured disc, degenerative changes in the bones, arthritis or other conditions or injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a cervical radiculopathy may include:

  • Pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest and/or shoulders.
  • Weakness/numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
  • Muscle weakness in certain muscles.

Pain often starts slowly and may worsen with certain movements or during certain parts of the day.

Diagnosis

Because each patient is different and because other conditions can mimic cervical radiculopathy, the diagnosis begins with gathering the medical history of the patient and identifying their symptoms. If needed, nerve conduction studies and electromyography can be done to help localize the impairment. An MRI may also be done to verify the condition. Because no two patients are the same, the diagnostic tests would be specifically tailored to each patient.

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