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Cervical Radiculopathy

Pinched Nerve in the Spine

Cervical radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve, is a condition of the cervical section of the spine caused by damage to the nerve root in this area. Pinched nerves are a very common source of back pain and could be caused by a number of things. Usually, they are the result of wear and tear on the spine that is compounded by other conditions.

Common causes of cervical radiculopathy include:

  • Arthritis
  • Injuries
  • Degenerative bone diseases
  • Ruptured discs

There are many noninvasive treatment options for cervical radiculopathy, so if you are experiencing back pain and need treatment, contact Southern California Center for Neuroscience and Spine today.

Symptoms

Pain from cervical radiculopathy usually starts slowly and gets worse throughout the day. Pain may get worse when you move a certain way or perform certain activities.

You may experience the following due to a pinched nerve in the spine:

  • Radiating pain in the neck, chest, arms, and/or shoulders
  • Weak or tingling feelings in the shoulders, hands, arms, or fingers
  • Muscle weakness

There are many possible causes of back pain, so your doctor will need to learn more about your medical history before making a diagnosis. In some cases, a nerve conduction study and electromyography may be required to confirm the diagnosis. These are minimally invasive tests that measure the electrical current in the muscles and nerves. If there is some delay or interference with the communication between the nerve and muscles, your physician can confirm a cervical radiculopathy diagnosis. In some cases, an MRI may also be required.

Treatment Options

The majority of people with cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve) get better over time with rest and limited movement of the neck and upper body muscles. For some people the pain lessens and goes away within a few days to a couple of weeks. In most cases, a combination rest and pain medication is sufficient to remedy the pain. Physical therapy may also be considered if the nerve doesn't return to normal within a given period of time.

However for those people with prolonged symptoms and no relief with rest, medication and physical therapy, steroid injections and/or surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. Our team approach at SCCNS provides solutions for all treatment options. Our pain management doctors are experts in pain injections and use the most up to date technology for pinpoint accuracy.

If surgery is needed, our expert team of neurosurgeons will evaluate the best surgical solution on a personal case by case basis. Surgery may include anterior cervical discectomy & fusion (ACDF) often done along with laminectomy or foraminotomy. Depending on the severity and underlying causes, a total disc replacement may be necessary.

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