Cervical Radiculopathy is a common problem that arises when a cervical nerve root in your neck gets compressed or irritated. It is sometimes referred to as a “pinched nerve”.
Cervical spondylosis is when cervical vertebrae degenerate over time. Degeneration in the vertebrae (bones) and discs in your neck can put pressure on a spinal nerve.
Discs are natural, sponge-like cushions in between your vertebrae that allow your spinal column to move. Disc damage may take place if a disc flattens, bulges, or herniates over time. An injury can also cause disc damage.
One of the most typical symptoms is pain that radiates from the neck down to the arm. You might experience discomfort in your shoulder, arm, hands, or fingers. The pain might get worse with motion or when you cough or sneeze. Additionally, you may experience neck pain or numbness, weakness, or tingling sensation in your extremities.
A neurological examination is critical to make an accurate diagnosis. A cervical spine x-ray may show evidence of degeneration. However, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the single most important study to make a diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy. Patients should consult with a specialist prior to getting an MRI.
Electromyography (EMG) is an important adjunct to MRI. EMG measures muscle response to a nerve’s stimulation. The test is used to help detect neuromuscular abnormalities. During the test, one or more small needles (also called electrodes) are inserted through the skin into the muscle.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids are used to reduce inflammation and minimize pain. Physical therapy and epidural steroid injections are also helpful as initial treatments. Surgical intervention may be needed if symptoms persist after conservative measures or if the patient is experiencing weakness.
For a proper diagnosis of your condition, request a consultation.