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Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy refers to an injury near the root of a nerve that results in pain at the end of the nerve, where sensation is felt. For example, an injury to the vertebrae or discs in your neck (your cervical vertebrae) could result in pain, numbness or weakness in your shoulder, arm, wrist or hand.

Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

Several conditions can put pressure on nerve roots in the neck. The most common causes for cervical radiculopathy are spinal stenosis, in which the space in the center of the vertebrae narrows and squeezes the spinal column and nerve roots; herniated cervical disc, in which the outer layer (annulus) of the disc cracks and causes the disc to protrude, putting pressure on the corresponding nerve that exits the spinal column; and degenerative disc disease, which can cause the disc to shrink and the vertebrae to press against each other, pinching the nerve and/or forming bony spurs.

Cervical Radiculopathy Symptoms

The most common symptoms are pain, numbness or weakness in your shoulder, arm, wrist or hand.

Treatment for Cervical Radiculopathy

Initial treatment is usually conservative and aims to reduce the pain by easing the pressure on the nerves. The treatment consists of three parts: rest, medication and physical therapy.

If non-surgical or conservative treatments don't relieve your pain over the course of 6 to 12 weeks, surgery may be an option.

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