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Neck and Arm Pain aka Cervical Radiculopathy

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is a medical condition that involves the compression or irritation of nerve roots in the cervical spine (neck region). The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae, and each vertebra has a nerve root extending from the spinal cord, responsible for transmitting signals to various parts of the body, such as the shoulders, arms, and hands. When one or more of these nerve roots become pinched or inflamed, it can lead to cervical radiculopathy.

Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy:

Several factors can contribute to the development of cervical radiculopathy:

  1. Herniated Disc: A herniated or slipped disc can protrude and press against the nerve roots in the neck, causing pain and discomfort.
  2. Degenerative Disc Disease: As we age, the discs between the vertebrae can undergo wear and tear, leading to degenerative changes that may impinge on the nerve roots.
  3. Spinal Stenosis: This condition involves the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can result in pressure on the nerve roots.
  4. Osteoarthritis: The breakdown of cartilage in the cervical spine can cause bones to rub against each other, potentially affecting nearby nerve roots.
  5. Injuries: Traumatic events like car accidents or falls can cause cervical spine injuries that lead to radiculopathy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and a review of your medical history. Your doctor may also request imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to confirm the diagnosis and pinpoint the exact location and cause of the nerve compression.

Treatment often starts with conservative methods such as physical therapy, medications to relieve pain and inflammation, and cervical collars to provide support and limit movement. If these treatments do not relieve symptoms, steroid injections or surgery may be considered.

Yes, physical therapy can be very effective in treating cervical radiculopathy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the neck, which can relieve pressure on the compressed nerve.

Surgery is usually considered only when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief, or if the condition is severe enough to impair your ability to perform everyday activities. The specific type of surgery will depend on the cause of the radiculopathy.

While it may not be possible to prevent cervical radiculopathy entirely, maintaining good posture, using ergonomic devices while working, staying active, and keeping your neck muscles strong can reduce your risk.

Many people experience significant improvement with conservative treatments and can recover fully from cervical radiculopathy. The prognosis depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the symptoms, and the timeliness of the treatment.

If you suspect you have cervical radiculopathy, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Early intervention can improve the chances of a full recovery.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options:

As a Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Edward Rubin focuses on providing non-surgical and minimally invasive treatment options to manage cervical radiculopathy effectively. These may include (From least invasive to most invasive:

  1. Medications: Prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or pain medications to alleviate symptoms and improve comfort.
  2. Physical Therapy: Customized exercises and stretches to strengthen the neck muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce nerve compression.
  3. Muscular Injections: Administering corticosteroids into the affected muscles to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. I.e. A trigger point injection (Hyperlink you tube video)
  4. Minimally Invasive Procedures: May be utilized when conservative treatments aren’t fully effective. For example:
  • Epidural Steroid Injections (Hyperlink video)
  • Cervical Median Branch Blocks (Hyperlink video)
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (Hyperlink Video)

Procedures Offered at Our Center:

  1. Epidural Steroid Injections: Targeted injections of steroids around the nerve roots to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  2. Cervical Nerve Blocks. – Use of local anesthetic along affected nerves for diagnostic purposes
  3. Facet Joint Injections: Injection of medication into the joints of the cervical spine to provide relief.
  4. Medial Branch Blocks: Targeting specific nerves to identify the source of pain and provide therapeutic benefits
  5. Radiofrequency Ablation: Using heat to disrupt pain signals from the affected nerves.

Take the First Step towards Relief:

If you are experiencing symptoms such as neck pain, shooting pain down the arms, weakness, or tingling sensations, Call now to speak with Dr. Edward Rubin, MD. He and his team are dedicated to helping patients regain their quality of life by using minimally invasive procedures and personalized pain management therapy.Take charge of your health and get back to doing what you love.