Cervical radiculopathy refers to symptoms caused by the irritation and compression of nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae. This compression may result from conditions such as arthritis, a ruptured or herniated disc, cervical spinal stenosis, or other injuries that place the nerve roots under pressure. While cervical radiculopathy may result from degenerative disc changes that occur normally in middle-aged individuals, young patients experiencing this condition can typically attribute it to spinal trauma or a ruptured disc.
Based on the location of the damaged nerve roots, cervical radiculopathy results in pain and loss of sensation in the upper extremities. Individuals with this condition may experience pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, chest, or upper back, in addition to muscle weakness or numbness. Patients may also experience a lack of coordination or numbness or tingling isolated to the fingers and hands.
Treatment for cervical radiculopathy typically combines corticosteroid or nonsteroidal pain medications with physical therapy. In severe cases marked by motor weakness, doctors may recommend surgery to relieve the spinal pressure.