Cervical radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy is the term for radiating symptoms which originate in the upper, or cervical, spine. Radiculopathy refers to a variety of symptoms — which can include pain, tingling, numbness or weakness — that travel along the length of a compressed nerve.

Cervical radiculopathy can be caused by a number of spinal conditions that lead to nerve compression in the spinal column, including a herniated disc, a bulging disc, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, foraminal stenosis and others. The symptoms can be felt at the location of the irritated nerve in the neck, and pain also can radiate through the shoulders and down to the arms, hands and fingers.

Overview of cervical nerve roots

Between the seven vertebrae of the cervical spine (C1 to C7), eight sets of nerve roots exit the spinal canal and send electrical impulses that communicate sensory and motor information to particular regions of the body. The area affected by cervical radiculopathy symptoms depends on the location of the impinged or irritated nerve root.

The nerve roots in the cervical spine are abbreviated C1 to C8. Each set is responsible for providing sensation and movement to a different region:

  • C1, C2 — Head
  • C3, C4 — Diaphragm
  • C5 — Upper body
  • C6 — Wrist and biceps
  • C7 — Triceps
  • C8 — Hands

If you are experiencing symptoms you think are related to cervical radiculopathy, you should consult a physician for a diagnosis. Generally, a course of conservative treatment is prescribed to help manage the pain and limited mobility associated with cervical radiculopathy. This can include exercises to strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles, pain medicine, injections and rest.

Laser Spine Institute

If conservative treatment is not enough to manage chronic neck or back pain, a physician might suggest surgery as an option. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive, outpatient procedures as an alternative to the large incisions and difficult rehabilitation periods associated with traditional surgery. Our highly skilled surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, which spares important supporting muscles and allows for a quicker healing and recovery time.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures