Cervical Radiculopathy


CONDITIONS

Cervical Radiculopathy

Commonly called a “pinched nerve,” cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve in the uppermost portion of the spine is compressed or irritated at the point where it branches off of the spinal cord (the nerve root). This can happen during the normal aging process as the disks that provide cushioning between the vertebral bones lose some of their moisture content and push outward while flattening. This process may cause irritation and degeneration of the surrounding structures (spondylosis), formation of bone spurs or possibly a herniated/ruptured disk (where the jelly-like material from within the disk seeps out and pushes on a nerve). Cervical radiculopathy also occurs in younger patients due to sports injuries or heavy lifting that causes disk herniation. Classic symptoms of this condition include pain in the shoulder, arm and neck; tingling sensations and weakness in the arms; and sometimes a stabbing jolt of pain that radiates down the arms all the way to the fingertips. Treatment for cervical radiculopathy depends on the severity of symptoms and the reason that a nerve root is being compressed. Nonsurgical methods include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and injections, while surgical treatment might call for a minimally invasive cervical discectomy and fusion procedure.
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