Our spines are made up of 24 bones (vertebrae) that are located on top of each other to create a canal that protects the spinal cord from harm. The cervical spine is comprised of the seven small vertebrae that originate at the base of the skull to form the neck. This is where cervical radiculopathy – or a pinched nerve – typically occurs. Our providers at Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates can help you determine if you are experiencing symptoms of this as well as discuss optimal treatments.
When a nerve in the neck is constricted or becomes irritated in the area where it branches away from the spinal cord, it can cause shoulder pain, muscle weakness, and numbness in the hand.
Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy is typically caused by wear and tear of the spine. When it occurs in younger people, it is usually caused by a sudden injury such as a herniated disk. It is typically the result of progressive changes that take place in the spine as we get older or from an injury that results in a herniated disk.
Symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy
In many instances, the burning or sharp pain of cervical radiculopathy begins at the neck and extends down the arm and into the damaged nerve. Other symptoms include:
- Tingling in the fingers or hand
- Weakness in the hand, shoulder or arm muscles
- A loss of sensation
Tests to Identify Cervical Radiculopathy
- Physical Examination: One of our providers will discuss the symptoms you may be experiencing and then examine you for signs of muscle weakness, sensation loss or a change in reflexes.
- X-rays will reveal whether there is any to the disks.
- CT scans can help determine whether the patient has developed bone spurs in their cervical spine.
- An MRI of the neck can reveal if the patient’s nerve compression is caused by damage to soft tissues and whether any damage has occurred to the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Treatment Options for Cervical Radiculopathy
While some instances of cervical radiculopathy may resolve on their own in time, others may require treatment. Once you schedule your consultation, one of our providers can help you determine which treatment path may be appropriate for you based on the symptoms and severity of discomfort you may be experiencing.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact us at Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates to discuss your treatment options and to learn more about cervical radiculopathy. We look forward to helping you lead a happier, healthier life.