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Pain that radiates from your neck into your shoulder and arm may be the first indication you have cervical radiculopathy. At the University Pain Medicine Center, with offices in Murray Hill, New York City, and throughout New Jersey, the experienced pain management team offers conservative and surgical treatments to relieve pressure on your root nerve and ease chronic pain. The physicians customize therapy plans to your unique needs and work closely with you to ensure long-lasting results. Find out more about your options for treating cervical radiculopathy by calling or requesting an appointment online today.
This condition is an irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the cervical spine. Because these nerves travel to the shoulders, arms and hands, an injury in the cervical spine can cause symptoms in these areas. Cervical radiculopathy may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the cervical spinal column.
One Common cause Of Cervical Radiculopathy is a Herniated Disc. A herniated disc is a rupture in the fibrous outer wall of a vertebral disc, which allows the soft nucleus of the disc to bulge outward. This bulge can press harmfully against a nerve root. Another common cause of nerve root injury is degenerative disc disease. It occurs when a spinal disc weakens, allowing vertebral bones above and below the disc to shift out of position. The bones can touch, pinching nearby nerve roots. Causes of degenerative disk disease can occur when bones, discs or joints of the spine degenerate, bony spurs may form and push into the spinal canal or foramen space. This is called spinal stenosis, and it can also create harmful pressure against the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Within the upper part of your spine are eight pairs of cervical root nerves (C1-C8) that branch out from your spinal cord and provide sensations to your arms, hands, and shoulders. Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that describes inflammation or damage in the nerve root of the cervical spine or neck.
There are two other spine conditions that can increase your risk for cervical radiculopathy:
Cervical foraminal stenosis occurs when the foramen, the opening where a root nerve exits the spinal canal, begins to narrow. This narrowing leaves less room for the nerve and increases your risk for pain and damage as the area compresses the nerve.
Within your spine are protective discs that absorb the shock of your movements and prevent your vertebrae from rubbing together. Damage to the disc can force the soft gel center outward, which presses on the surrounding root nerve.
These spine conditions are often the result of trauma or age-related degeneration of your spine. In many cases, the condition worsens over time, and the more pressure on your root nerve, the more severe your symptoms.
Pressure on the root nerves of your cervical spine can lead to changes in your neurologic function. After an injury or because of disease, you may begin experiencing symptoms of cervical radiculopathy like:
These issues can affect any of the areas the root nerve supplies, such as your shoulder, hand, fingers, or arm. Pain often ranges from mild aches to shock-like burning sensations that radiate down from your neck and into your arm and fingers.
To confirm your pain is the result of cervical radiculopathy, the University Pain Medicine Center offers on-site electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies. These diagnostic procedures identify issues that affect your muscle health and nerve function.
To relieve the pain and other symptoms of cervical radiculopathy, the University Pain Medicine Center team offers a variety of treatment options:
You may benefit from physical therapy and non-surgical treatments that focus on quick and long-lasting pain relief. These treatments may include nerve blocks to disrupt pain signals from traveling to your brain or epidural steroid injections that deliver medications directly to your cervical spine.
Your University Pain Medicine Center provider may recommend radiofrequency ablation to destroy the root nerve.
Myofascial release is a hands-on therapy that involves putting pressure on the myofascial connective tissue to stretch it out. Releasing the tissue eases pain and restores function in your neck.
Stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapies are available to relieve pain and inflammation in your cervical spine. This involves injecting substances from your own body that trigger the regeneration of new tissue to replace damaged tissue.
Prolotherapy is another type of regenerative therapy that involves injecting a natural irritant into the inflamed vertebrae to stimulate the natural healing process.
Surgery is typically a last-resort option for long-term pain relief. During a cervical discectomy, your surgeon can remove a herniated disc to relieve pressure on the root nerve. They may replace it with an artificial disc or perform a fusion to join one or more vertebrae into one solid piece of bone.
To learn more about your options for treating pain and other symptoms of cervical radiculopathy, call the University Pain Medicine Center office nearest you or request a consultation through the online booking system.