At first, a degenerative condition that can lead to a level C5-C6 pinched nerve might produce no symptoms at all. Degenerative spine conditions are a natural result of the aging process, and many people have a herniated disc, a bulging disc or narrowed neural passageways without ever knowing it. Symptoms emanating from the cervical (neck) region of the spine only occur when an anatomical abnormality impinges – “pinches” – a cervical nerve root (which are designated C1 to C8) or the upper portion of the spinal cord itself.
Specific locations where symptoms occur with a C5-C6 pinched nerve
Nerve roots branch off the spinal cord at each vertebral level, and each nerve root serves as a conduit for sensory and motor messages transmitted between the brain and other parts of the body. In the cervical spine, the nerve roots generally innervate parts of the upper body. When the fifth and sixth cervical nerve roots (C5-C6) are impinged, it can produce symptoms of localized pain, radiating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the following areas:
- The clavicle
- Top of the shoulder
- Lateral portion of the arm from the shoulder to the hand
- Thumb or index finger
- Interior aspects of the hand
Treating a C5-C6 pinched nerve
Symptoms associated with an impinged cervical nerve root normally can be managed conservatively, using pain medication, exercise, physical therapy, behavior modification or other non-surgical treatment methods. However, if chronic symptoms persist after several weeks of conservative treatment, surgery might become an option. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed using advanced techniques may be able to provide relief from a C5-C6 pinched nerve.