Cervical radiculopathy is commonly called a ‘pinched nerve in the neck’. A pinched nerve occurs when one of the spinal nerves in the neck becomes compressed. This pinched nerve in the neck is usually caused by worn out discs that bulge or herniate and compress the nerve. The most common nerves to become pinched in the neck are C5, C6, and C7.
Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy
When a nerve becomes pinched in the neck, the most common symptoms are neck pain and discomfort that are worse with certain movements such as looking left and right. Neck pain can trace the nerve that has become pinched and this means that pain can project from the neck to the shoulders and down into the arms, forearms, and fingers. Sensation changes in the arm and hand are common and this will typically only occur on one side of the body. If left, a pinched nerve in the neck may lead to muscle weakness, paralysis and function loss that cannot be recovered. Early detection by a chiropractor or physiotherapist is extremely important because even if the pressure is released from the nerve ongoing loss and deficits may remain.
Treatment of cervical radiculopathy
Most patients with cervical radiculopathy will make a full recovery, however this may take a considerable amount of time. At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we are very experienced in treating cervical radiculopathies or pinched nerves. Chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments for a pinched nerve in the neck will focus on reducing inflammation and pain, and improving the function and strength of the neck. Ongoing exercises are likely to be given by our chiropractors and physiotherapist to ensure another episode of neck radiculopathy is unlikely.