Cervical radiculopathy or a pinched nerve is defined as a disorder that affects a spinal nerve root in the cervical spine, causing pain to radiate down the arm. Cervical radiculopathy causes pain in the neck that radiates into the shoulders and arms. Additionally, it may also give rise to muscle weakness, ‘pins and needles’ and numbness. Cervical radiculopathy is marked by nerve compression, typically from herniated disc material or arthritic bone spurs.
The spine comprises 33 bones known as vertebrae, each of which is stacked on top of another. The cervical spine consists of the seven small vertebrae that begin at the skull base and form the neck. Other parts of the spine include;
Any condition that can cause irritation or compression to the cervical nerve root can cause cervical radiculopathy. The two most prevalent causes of cervical radiculopathy are as follows;
Cervical foraminal stenosis: This happens when degenerative changes in the discs or vertebrae narrow the openings in your vertebrae (cervical foramina) causing them to pinch nerve roots. These degenerative changes are very common.
Cervical Herniated disc: A herniated disc often occurs with lifting, pulling, bending, and twisting movements. When a disc is herniated, its material compresses or inflames the nerve root and causes pain.
Other less prevalent causes of cervical radiculopathy are:
The most obvious symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest, upper back, and shoulders. Cervical radiculopathy symptoms occur most commonly on just one side of the body, but they can be on both sides. Some of the other symptoms may include;
Sensory issues: These are issues such as numbness or tingling in the fingers or hands.
Motor problems: Motor problems involve weakness in muscles of the arms, hands, or shoulders.
Reflexes: These involve the change in the body’s involuntary reflex responses. Some examples are the decreased ability of the body when the skin touches hot or cold.
After studying the patient’s general health and medical history, the following tests are performed for diagnostic purposes;
Some factors that increase the risk for cervical radiculopathy are;
Medicinal treatments Powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are often prescribed to cure the pain.
Physical therapy to reduce pain The most popular physical therapies that may be useful in treating cervical radiculopathy are gentle cervical traction, mobilization, exercises, and other modalities.
Cervical epidural steroid injection If the nerve root is inflamed or compressed, steroids may be injected epidurally. In this process, an injection is carefully placed in the cervical spine’s epidural space to bring the medication flow on the affected nerve root and cause relief.
When symptoms of cervical radiculopathy do not go away and persist for a long time, surgery may be offered. Surgery treats cervical radiculopathy by decompressing nerves in your neck. Depending on the factors such as symptoms and location of the involved nerve root, the following surgeries can be performed;
Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
ACDF involves removing the problematic disc or bone spurs and then stabilizing the spine through spinal fusion. The main aim of ACDF is to restore the alignment of the spine and increase the space available for the nerve roots to leave the spine. It limits motion across the degenerated segment of the spine.
Cervical artificial disc replacement (ADR) / cervical total disc arthroplasty (TDA)
A cervical disc replacement involves removing the degenerated disc, as in an ACDF procedure, but rather than fusing the vertebra a disc replacement is inserted. This theoretically allows motion to continue in that vertebral segment, reducing the pressure on adjacent discs.
Dr. Sherief is one of the most renowned spinal surgeons for Cervicobrachial pain treatment in Dubai. He has a great clinical success record in performing surgeries to treat patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy in Dubai. He has received multiple prestigious awards for his research and contributions in developing a system for managing spinal infections. He is also one of the very few surgeons worldwide trained in the use of robot-assisted surgeries. His patients’ reviews are the testimonials of his caring, confidential and discreet approach to them.