Understanding Cervical Radiculopathy

Are you struggling with unexplained pain or numbness and tingling in your shoulders, arms, and hands? The explanation may lie in one of the sensitive nerve roots that branch out from your cervical spine. When a nerve root is irritated or compressed in your neck, not only can local symptoms develop, but also symptoms that radiate down the length of the nerve, even as far as your fingers.

At Summit Pain Alliance, our highly qualified and experienced team understands the far-reaching impacts that a pinched nerve in your neck can create. To help you better understand the problem, technically called cervical radiculopathy, we’ve pulled together the following information on how the issue develops and, more importantly, what we can do about it.

The many roles of your spine

Your spine plays many roles. First, it provides the foundational support for your entire musculoskeletal system. Equally as important, it also provides passage for your nervous system through your spinal canal. 

The makings of cervical radiculopathy

When one of the nerves in your spine is compressed, issues can occur along its entire length, creating symptoms in seemingly unrelated areas. While this problem often develops in your lower back, which leads to symptoms that travel down your legs, it can also occur in your neck.

Called cervical radiculopathy, the condition arises when a nerve in your cervical spine becomes inflamed or irritated, leading to symptoms like:

In most cases, these symptoms develop on one side of your body and their severity depends on which nerve is affected and the degree of the impingement.

Behind the compression

Your neck consists of seven small vertebrae that form your cervical spine. This area enjoys a considerable range of motion, which puts it at risk of nerve compression.

Other reasons for cervical radiculopathy include:

To best treat your cervical radiculopathy, we first use advanced imaging or electromyography to locate the source of the problem so that we can take the appropriate steps to help you find relief.

Treating cervical radiculopathy

Once we’ve determined the cause of your cervical radiculopathy, we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

While these treatments help relieve your cervical radiculopathy, our goal is to prevent the problem from recurring. To that end, we may recommend longer-term solutions, such as exercise and weight loss.

If you’re struggling with cervical radiculopathy, contact one of our locations in Santa Rosa or Petaluma, California, to set up an appointment.

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