Cervical radiculopathy is damage or disturbance of the functioning of the nerve due to the compression of the nerve root found near the cervical vertebrae. It is characterized by pain and loss of sensation along the pathway of the nerve into the arm and hand, which depend on where the damaged root is found.
- Pressure from material from a ruptured disc
- Degenerative deviations in the bones
- Arthritis and other injuries
- Ruptured disc due to trauma
- Can be caused by conditions such as herniated intervertebral disk, ruptured disk, slipped disk, cervical disk syndrome and herniated nucleus pulposus
Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy
- Pain that spread into the neck, chest, arm, upper back and the shoulders blades
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and fingers
- Lack of coordination of the hands
- Weakness in hand grip, numbness and pain that spreads on the inner side of the arm, the ring and the little fingers.
- Neck pain or headache felt at the side of the head and tingling sensation of the hands and fingers
Factors that increases the risk of developing this condition includes smoking, performing heavy manual labor such as lifting objects more than 25 pounds and operating vibrating equipments.
- Take plenty of rest. Minimize performing strenuous activities such as playing sports and lifting heavy objects. Maintain proper posture while sitting or driving is good for the condition.
- Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises and stretching to lessen the symptoms and restore the range of movement of the affected area. This will include mild cervical traction and mobilization and exercises to lessen the pain
- Apply an ice pack or heating pad on the affected area. Apply cold therapy in the form of an ice pack for at least 15 minutes at 3-4 times to lessen the inflammation. After icing, apply a heat pad or hot water bottle in the affected area for proper flow of blood and for fast healing of the condition
- Take the prescribed medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lessen the pain and the inflammation of the area.
- Use the prescribed cervical collar for comfort and provide some support to the affected area. Use a cervical pillow at night that maintains the affected neck in a neutral position and lessen the position of the head that result to narrowing of the neural foramen.
- Massage the affected neck for proper blood circulation in the area as well as lessen the pain and the inflammation.