Neck (Cervical) Pain Cervical Radiculopathy

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Cervical Radiculopathy as a Symptom of Neck Pain

A clinical term, medical experts see cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain and neurological concerns. These are commonly viewed as an indicator of a condition that causes irritation in the nerves of the neck or “cervical spine.”

Neck Pain Symptoms – Cervical Radiculopathy

Pain and neurological issues in the neck are symptoms of wide range of cervical spine conditions. Cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain is just one clinical indicator used to describe such issues, but focuses on the nerves of the neck.  These nerves have specific pathways, and cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain is identified by the limbs or muscles affected.

Is Cervical Radiculopathy a Potential Symptom of Neck Pain?

The neck is medically referred to by health care providers as the cervical spine. When we talk about spinal the cervical area is included in the discussion becauseit contains the seven uppermost vertebrae of the spine. Like many areas of the spine, the neck is a complex region of the body and it contains a large number of nerves, any of which can become irritated, compressed or inflamed.  Presenting with a range of symptoms, cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain is most commonly described as a “pinched nerve” though it can strike in a number of ways.

Generally, the individual with cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain will experience it particularly as weakness, numbness, and even pain in areas affected by a damaged or inflamed nerve. Described by patients as dull to intense and burning in some cases, the condition often leads to numbness that can occur anywhere from the shoulder and arm to the tips of the fingers. Movement of the head and neck can also exacerbate conditions, and simply turning the head from side to side may lead to pain.

Some patients explain that a hand supporting their neck temporarily alleviates pain or lessens symptoms, but generally cervical radiculopathy differs based on the nerve or nerves affected. This is due to the underlying causes and to the type of cervical radiculopathy that the patient has developed. The usual causes of this condition may include a cervical herniated disc, cervical degenerative disc disease or cervical spinal stenosis. In the herniated disc, inner material of the disc is inflamed or even leaks outward and interferes with the nerve. In degenerative disc disease, the disc or discs degenerate and allow a nerve to be exposed and/or pinched. In spinal stenosis, degeneration occurs and causes tightening of the space in the spinal canal.

Cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain also differs based on where on the spine it occurs, with vertebrae C5-C8 the most commonly affected. The C5 type often causes pain in the shoulders and upper arms, C6 in the length of the arm, wrists and index finger. The C7 type strikes the neck to the hand, and the middle finger. The C8 type typically causes pain in the neck that radiates down the arm and into the hand.

To ensure optimal spinal health and to combat the damage that can be caused by cervical radiculopathy, be sure to alert your doctor to any neck pain you have been experiencing, especially if it has lasted for three months or longer.

Neck Pain Symptoms – Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Various conditions contribute to the development of cervical radiculopathy as a symptom of neck pain, and none should be ignored
  • Pain in the neck that radiates into the arm or hand is a warning sign of problems with the cervical spine
  • Pain accompanied by weakness, or numbness in the neck that extends through the hand may be a sign of nerve inflammation or compression
  • Specific symptoms are important to spine doctors as they are used to determine the nerves and vertebrae affected

Health Tips For Radiculopathy

  • Some forms of cervical radiculopathy are unavoidable and best treated by a spine expert
  • Use light neck exercises to help overcome stiffness and pain associated with this cervical radiculopathy
  • Invest in a cervical pillow to help alleviate neck pain symptoms at home
  • Some patients may require surgery to overcome cervical radiculopathy and associated neck pain

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