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Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a "pinched nerve," occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches away from the spinal cord. This may cause pain that radiates into the shoulder and/or arm, as well as muscle weakness and numbness.

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

The nerves that run through your cervical spine send messages back forth between your muscles and your brain. The roots of these nerves branch out through openings in your vertebrae called foramen. Damage to these nerve roots can cause pain and the loss of sensation along the nerve's pathway into the arm and hand, depending on where the damaged roots are located. This damage or compression to the nerve is Cervical Radiculopathy. 

Cervical Radiculopathy

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy

The main symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest, upper back and/or shoulders. Often, this affects just one side of your body.

Other symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy are:

  • Tingling or the feeling of "pins and needles" in the fingers or hand
  • Weakness in the muscles of the arm, shoulder, or hand
  • Loss of sensation

Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy generally occurs with irritation of the nerve root as it exits the spinal column. This irritation can be due to several reasons, including:

  • Degenerative changes, such as arthritis or cervical foramen stenosis
  • Injury, such as through a ruptured or herniated disc
  • Infections in the spine
  • Tumors in the spine caused by cancer
  • Benign, or noncancerous, growths in the spine
  • Sarcoidosis, the growth of inflammatory cells

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Cervical Radiculopathy

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