If you suffer from chronic pain in the spine or neck, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
Cervical radiculopathy refers to a change in neurological function that results when a nerve root in the cervical spine gets inflamed or damaged.
Cervical Radiculopathy Symptoms
Neurological deficits, such as numbness, altered reflexes, or weakness, may radiate anywhere from the neck into the shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers. Pins-and-needles tingling and/or pain, which can range from achy to shock-like or burning, may also radiate down into the arm and/or hand.
If you suffer from any of the above symptom(s), consultant specialist ASAP.
Cervical Radiculopathy Causes and Risk Factors
The two most common causes of cervical radiculopathy include:
- Cervical foraminal stenosis: When a foramen (bony opening where a nerve root exits the spinal canal) narrows, the nerve root has less space and may become impinged. Degenerative changes related to cervical osteoarthritis and/or cervical degenerative disc disease may result in nearby bone spurs (osteophytes), thickening ligaments, or a bulging disc that pushes against the nerve root in the foramen. Cervical foraminal stenosis is the most common cause of cervical radiculopathy.
- Cervical herniated disc: If the inner material of the cervical disc leaks out and inflames or impinges the adjacent nerve, it can cause cervical radiculopathy. A herniated disc is more likely to occur from an injury or strenuous activity, which may explain why it is the most common cause of cervical radiculopathy in younger people (20s or 30s).
The Course of Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy is a rare condition that occurs slightly more often in men than women. This is more likely to occur in older people due to spinal degeneration, with some estimates putting the highest risk for ages 50 to 54. When cervical radiculopathy occurs in younger people, This is more likely due to disc herniation or injury.
Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment
There is a wide range of treatment options available for cervical radiculopathy. The treatment will depend mainly on the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms as well as the severity of signs and symptoms.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
This surgery goes through a small incision in the front of the neck to remove the disc (which may be herniated or damaged) and then fuses that level of the cervical spine to restore normal
height to give spinal nerves enough room and ensure the neck stays stable. This surgery is the most common used to relieve symptoms of cervical radiculopathy.
Artificial disc replacement
Instead of doing a fusion, this surgery replaces the problematic disc with an artificial disc. A potential benefit to this procedure is that it aims to maintain mobility at that level of the cervical spine instead of fusing two vertebrae together.
Neck surgery to reduce hand and arm pain/numbness tends to have a high success rate—some estimates in literature put the success rate between 80% and 90%. As with any surgery, there are some risks that will first need to be discussed with the surgeon. It is also important to ask about the surgeon’s experience and what to expect for that particular surgery.