Cervical Radiculopathy is often called “pinched nerve” due to the compression of nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae (forming the cervical spine, from the base of the skull and extending down to the neck). Damage to the nerve roots causes pain and loss of sensation along the nerve’s pathway, which extends from the neck to the arm or the hand, depending on where the damaged roots are located.
Common causes of cervical radiculopathy are degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs that can cause herniation and compression of the nerve roots, cervical foramen stenosis, or narrowing of the openings in the cervical vertebrae through which the nerves travel, in addition to injury due to sudden lifting, twisting or pulling motions.
Repetitive motions like diving, playing golf, or driving vibrating vehicles, as well as infections or tumors in the spine, have also led to the injury of the nerve roots.
Patients present with both sensory and motor nerve issues. They experience tingling numbness in fingers or hands along with muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, or lack of coordination. Cervical Radiculopathy can be diagnosed with physical examinations, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to identify the cause and is treated by managing the pain through physical therapy or surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve root in very severe cases.
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