Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy, otherwise known as “pinched nerve” is brought about by the compression or irritation of one or more nerve roots in the cervical spine where it branches away from the spinal column.  Since these nerves traverses the shoulders, arms and hands, a contusion or trauma in the cervical spine may result to pain radiating from the shoulder, frailty and numbness moving to the arm and and hand.

Cervical radiculopathy is frequently the result of the regular “wear and tear” adjustments that happens in the spinal cord as we advance in age, like arthritis.  However, in more younger people, this medical condition is often caused by unexpected injuries resulting to a herniated disc.

A herniated disc is a condition where the elastic cushions (discs) in between the vertebrae that piles up on top of each other which makes up the spinal column. These disks in between the vertebrae are like rubber donuts with a jelly center inside a sturdy exterior.  Otherwise known as slipped disk or ruptured disk, a herniated disc happens when the soft “jelly” center forcibly leaks out through a tear in the tough and sturdy exterior (of the disc).

This condition can result to the irritation of nearby nerves resulting to pain, weakness and numbness in an arm or leg. Nevertheless, most people with herniated disc do not require surgery to resolve the condition.

Causes

A recurrent source of nerve root injury is degenerative disc disease. This results when a spinal disc weakens or wears out, resulting to the vertebral bones on top and under the disc to move out of its original place. This results to the top and bottom vertebral bones to touch, “pinching” the neighboring nerve roots.

Another common cause of nerve root injury is called spinal stenosis.  As the bones and joints of the spinal column degenerates or wears out, bony spurs forms around the degenerated bones and pushes inside the spinal canal and foramen space.  This movement also create a painful pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.