Cervical radiculopathy refers to pain that radiates into the shoulder and arm as a result of injury to a nerve root in the cervical spine (neck). An injured nerve can send pain signals throughout the area into which it extends. Sometimes known as a “pinched nerve,” cervical radiculopathy can be the result of a herniated disc, a bone spur, an injury to the spine, or osteoarthritis.
Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy often results from pressure placed on spinal nerves by either a herniated disc or bone spur. A herniated disc can develop when too much force is exerted on an otherwise healthy intervertebral disc; bone spurs develop when cartilage deteriorates and bones begin rubbing against each other. Bone spurs can cause a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can place pressure on a nearby nerve.
Additional causes of cervical radiculopathy include the following:
- Degenerative diseases such as arthritis
- Conditions that cause changes in bones
- Traumatic injury
Although aging can cause disc changes that result in cervical radiculopathy, not everyone with aged, worn discs is affected.
Symptoms Of Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy can result in pain that radiates down one or both arms, or into the shoulders. Certain movements, such as extending the neck or turning the head, pull on the affected area, and can worsen the pain. Additional symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include the following:
- Muscle weakness in the arm, neck, chest, upper back or shoulders
- Tingling sensations down to the hands
A lack of coordination, particularly in the hands, can also be a symptom of cervical radiculopathy.