Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that affects the nerves in your neck. It is caused by pressure on a nerve root, which is a bundle of nerve fibres that connects the spinal cord to the rest of your body.
Cervical radiculopathy is a condition where a nerve root in the cervical (neck) region of the spine gets compressed or irritated. This occurs when a spinal disc herniates or bone spurs (osteophytes) develop, exerting pressure on the nerves as they exit the spinal cord and pass through the spaces between the vertebrae.
The most common cause of cervical radiculopathy is a herniated disc. This is when the soft, gel-like centre of a spinal disc pushes out and presses on a nerve root. Other causes of cervical radiculopathy include:
- Bone spurs (osteophytes)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Injuries to the neck
The main symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain. The pain may start in your neck and radiate down your arm or hand. It may also cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arm or hand.
Your doctor will diagnose cervical radiculopathy based on your symptoms and a physical exam. They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to get a better look at your spine and spinal cord.
Treatment for cervical radiculopathy depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. In most cases, conservative treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy, and rest, are effective. However, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerve root.
Benefits Of Treatment
Treating cervical radiculopathy can help to:
- Relieve pain and other symptoms
- Improve function and mobility
- Prevent further nerve damage
Risks Of Treatment
All treatments have some risks, but the risks of treating cervical radiculopathy are generally low. Conservative treatments, such as pain medication and physical therapy, have very few risks. Surgery carries more risks, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. However, the benefits of surgery often outweigh the risks.
The recovery time from cervical radiculopathy will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment received. Most people who are treated with conservative methods are able to return to their normal activities within a few weeks or months. People who have surgery may need to wear a neck brace for several months and may have to restrict their activities for several months.
There is no known way to completely prevent cervical radiculopathy, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding smoking
- Practising good posture
- Using proper lifting techniques
If you have any concerns about cervical radiculopathy, please make an appointment.
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