Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy

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What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

The most common cause of Cervical Radiculopathy,  a herniated nucleus pulposus (herniated disc), which pinches one of the nerves in the neck. Other causes of cervical radiculopathy include bone spurs,  fractures,  infections and tumors.  Fortunately,  most of the time,  the causes are not as serious as the latter three.

What are the common complaints associated with Cervical Radiculopathy?

Usually, it begins with complaints of neck stiffness or pain,  followed by numbness, tingling or radiation to the arms and hands.   Because the nerves irritated can cause weakness to the muscles of the shoulders,  elbows, hand and wrist,  the certainty of the diagnosis not always clear.

What are the other possibilities other than Cervical Radiculopathy?

In General,  your history is most helpful to identify the diagnosis.  But, your physician usually has a so called Differential Diagnosis, when confronted with patients with possible cervical radiculopathy.  Other possibilities include:

Shoulder Rotator Cuff problems.

Brachial Plexus problems

Carpal/Cubital Tunnel syndrome

A type of neuropathy

How do you diagnose Cervical Radiculopathy?

After obtaining the history of the problem,  your physician will then perform a physical examination.  Does the history indicate a recent trauma, that may cause a fracture or a disk herniation?  Do you have a prior history of neck pain, and is your age such that bone spurs are likely?  Have you had any recent infections,  fevers, sweats?  Have you had any complaints that make cancer a possibility?

On physical examination,  your physician will usually perform a neurologic examination, and a musculoskeletal examination to try to differentiate nerve problems, versus muscle and joint problems.

Then finally,  if warranted,  your physician will order tests,  including x-rays or MRI’s (not always the first visit) if your symptoms are severe, or are not improving.

What are the Treatments for Cervical Radiculopathy?

As long as there are no concern for infection, tumor, or progressive neurologic deficits,  most episodes of cervical radiculopathy are treated initially with conservative options such as medications,  exercises,  physical therapy, or chiropractic care.  If you do not respond to these treatments,  further workup, including x-rays or MRI’s may be necessary.  Depending on the findings,  you may be offered more conservative care,  spinal injections,  or as a last resort surgical management.   If you are suffering from complaints that are consistent with cervical radiculopathy, and you do not improve, or worsen in a short time, please call your physician for an evaluation.

 

Citations

  • Bukhari SR, Shakil-Ur-Rehman S, Ahmad S, Naeem A. Comparison between effectiveness of Mechanical and Manual Traction combined with mobilization and exercise therapy in Patients with Cervical Radiculopathy. Pak J Med Sci. 2016 Jan-Feb;32(1):31-4. PubMed PMID: 27022340

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Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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