3 Common Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy is a term used to describe the pain that originates in the neck and radiates into the shoulders, arms, and hands. In most cases, this pain is caused by irritation of a spinal nerve within the neck (cervical spine), which then causes pain to travel from the neck and into the upper extremities.  Determining the cause of the radiculopathy is an essential step in symptom relief.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Spine Specialists at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates are experts in diagnosing and treating radiculopathy.

First, our specialists perform a medical history review and physical examination. Your provider may also order multiple view X-rays or other diagnostic studies. After a formal diagnosis, a treatment plan is prescribed based on your unique symptoms, injury, and goals.

Radiculopathy Symptoms

Symptoms of radiculopathy occur in the spine and/or extremities. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the neck and arms/hands
  • Numbness in the arms/hands
  • Tingling in the arms/hands
  • Weakness in the arms/hands

An appointment with one of our Spine Specialists should be made at the first sign of symptoms. An early diagnosis allows treatment options to decrease symptoms and slow down or stop the progression of the condition causing them.

Nonsurgical treatment options treat the majority of patients with cervical radiculopathy. Minimally invasive spine surgery may be needed to treat severe radiculopathy that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment.

Below are two of the most common causes of radiculopathy:

Common Cause #1: Cervical Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that slowly deteriorates bone and cartilage. Spinal osteoarthritis often affects the facet joints – the joints at the back of the cervical spine responsible for movement and flexibility of the vertebrae. Bone, cartilage, and nerve inflammation occur as facet joint osteoarthritis progresses. Over time, bone growths or spurs develop and pinch spinal nerve roots.

Common Cause #2: Herniated Cervical Disc

The intervertebral discs are shock absorbers positioned between adjacent vertebrae. Over time, these discs can become worn or damaged.  In other cases, a sudden injury or accident can cause damage to the spinal discs.

A herniated cervical disc occurs when the inner portion of an intervertebral disc protrudes into the cervical spinal canal and compresses the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots.  The spinal nerves then become irritated or inflamed, which in turn causes the pain associated with cervical radiculopathy.

Making an Appointment at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates

Please do not delay a diagnosis if you are experiencing symptoms. Our Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Spine Specialists have helped thousands of patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy return to an active lifestyle using the latest advancements in non-surgical and minimally invasive options.

We have locations throughout Olympia and making an appointment is the first step in getting back to Your Life in Motion.

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