What is Cervical Radiculopathy?
Cervical radiculopathy means that a spinal nerve root in the neck is irritated and/or compressed. The spinal nerve roots are located in the spinal canal and the neuroforamen. The neuroforamen are small holes through which the spinal nerves exit the spinal column. Outside the spine these nerves branch off into other parts of the body forming the peripheral (outer) nervous system.
Nerve irritation may result from disc herniation, spinal cervical stenosis, osteophyte formation or other degenerative disorders. As we age, conditions may worsen. This is true of both hereditary and mechanical conditions (caused by wear and tear or injury).
Nerve irritation may cause sensory and/or motor abnormalities called neurologic deficit. Pain, tingling and numbness are examples of a sensory abnormality. Weakness and reflex loss are examples of a motor abnormality. Cervical radiculopathy may cause symptoms to appear in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
Diagnosis and Non-Surgical Treatment
An MRI or myelography and CT Scan may follow a physical examination and neurological evaluation. These tests will help your surgeon to determine where the radiculopathy is located and if your symptoms match up with the image studies.
Depending on the cause of the cervical radiculopathy, SouthPalm Ortho-Spine Institute may first recommend non-surgical treatment. This treatment may include medication and physical therapy. Of course, not all patients are alike and some patients may require surgery.
The surgeons of SouthPalm Ortho-Spine Institute always consider minimally invasive surgery as an option.