8 Things You Need To Know About Cervical Radiculopathy

8 Things You Need To Know About Cervical Radiculopathy

  1. Cervical radiculopathy is also known as a pinched nerve in the neck. It occurs when a cervical nerve is compressed. There are eight cervical nerve roots numbered from C1 to C8 that aid the functioning of the upper limb, from shoulder to fingers. When any of these nerves are inflamed and damaged due to compression, it is known as Cervical Radiculopathy. Commonly affected cervical nerve roots are C7 and C6.
  2. Causative factors of cervical radiculopathy are trauma or degenerative changes in the cervical spine leading to a herniated disc. Less common causes include fractures, tumors, or infection.
  3. Cervical radiculopathy causes pain, tingling, and numbness along the course of the compressed nerve. That’s why pain is felt from the neck and radiates to the shoulder and the arm. This pain is sharp and shooting. Muscles supplied by the affected nerve become weak. Sensory loss also occurs in the affected area, and the involuntary reflexes are diminished. Areas of involvement from the neck to the fingers also show which cervical nerve root is involved. For example, in C8 radiculopathy, pain and numbness are felt from the neck to the little finger in the hand, and hand grip strength reduces.
  4.  X-ray and CT scans help see any changes in the alignment of the cervical bones and see bone spurs. MRI helps in determining disc changes like herniated discs.
  5.  Initially, the symptoms of cervical radiculopathy are intermittent and self-limiting. Most symptoms are treatable by NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, and relative rest. Some patients may require steroid injections, and some may require surgery to decompress the nerve.
  6. Physical therapy interventions cervical traction, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, neck stretching, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy help in cervical radiculopathy. Postural reeducation is also critical in the management of cervical radiculopathy.
  7. Cervical radiculopathy due to degenerative changes is preventable by maintaining good neck posture and neck stretching exercises to improve the flexibility of the neck muscles. Neck isometrics are good for maintaining the strength of neck musculature.
  8. Chin tucks, neck tilts, neck isometrics, scapular retraction, and shoulder rolls are some exercises for cervical radiculopathy.


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