Cervical neuralgia is a descriptive term for pain and other symptoms associated with nerve dysfunction or injury within the cervical (neck) region of the spine. There are seven vertebrae within the cervical region, as well as eight sets of nerve roots. The top of the spinal cord also is located here. The cervical spine supports the weight of the head and is flexible enough to allow for a wide range of head movement. Over time, the combination of weight and stress-inducing movement causes wear and tear, which can lead to degeneration of the spinal anatomy. While degenerative spine conditions are not always symptomatic, bone spurs, herniated discs, or deteriorating intervertebral joints can cause painful compression or irritation of the spinal cord and adjacent nerve roots.
Symptoms Associated with Cervical Neuralgia
The nerves that originate in the cervical spine innervate a large portion of the upper body, including the head, neck, shoulders, upper back, arms, hands, and fingers. When nerve compression occurs within the neck area, it can produce the following symptoms:
- Sharp or constant pain in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
- Pain or a burning sensation that radiates along the length of a nerve, down the arm, and into the hands and fingers
- Pain associated with rotating or twisting the head
- Tightness or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
- Tenderness when the area is touched
Treatment for Cervical Neuralgia
Conservative treatment methods, such as pain medication, exercise, or epidural injections generally are effective at managing symptoms associated with cervical nerve compression. However, surgery may become an option if chronic symptoms persist after several weeks of conservative therapy. If your physician suggests that you explore your surgical options, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure may be able to help you?finally free yourself from?back and neck pain.