Cervical radiculopathy is when one or more nerves in the neck are disturbed or damaged. This disturbance causes pain and sometimes pins and needles.
The video below can help you better understand the condition:
Cervical radiculopathy is often caused by irritation and inflammation of the nerve when there is pressure on it.
The two most common causes of this pressure are:
You will be asked about your symptoms and how they started. Other questions will include those to eliminate other injury/disease.
While sitting/lying, the movement in your neck and strength of your muscles will be tested to see how your symptoms affect you. Four simple movement tests will diagnose cervical radiculopathy.
These steps are the most accurate method of diagnosis.
Scans such as CTs, X-rays, MRI scan or EMGs may diagnose cervical radiculopathy.
There are several types of cervical radiculopathy depending on the nerve affected:
C5 radiculopathy usually causes pain and weakness in the upper arms and shoulders. A person may experience discomfort in the shoulder blades area with rarely any tingling or numbness.
C6 radiculopathy (common) causes numbness and pain in the arm.
C7 radiculopathy (most common) causes numbness and neck pain that radiates to the arm and hand.
C8 radiculopathy causes similar symptoms to C7 radiculopathy. However, a person can also experience weakness when gripping.
The two standard treatments for cervical radiculopathy are physiotherapy treatment and surgery.
Physiotherapy treatment will involve manual therapy, exercise and education to increase function, neck movement and decrease pain and disability.
Surgery is an option for some people only and does not always completely remove the symptoms.
Modify your workplace so you always have a good posture.
Avoid long sitting periods (at work, watching TV, using the computer) by taking regular breaks.
Regularly stretch your neck, shoulder and arm during breaks.
To prevent cervical radiculopathy, you should:
Maintain a proper neck posture
Be physically active
Maintain a healthy weight
Improvements in symptoms are expected after 6 to 12 weeks of treatment with physiotherapy and pain relief medication.
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