WHAT IS CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY?
Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that results from a pinched nerve in cervical spine (neck region). The symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness may radiate from the neck down the arm and into the hand or sometimes are only felt in the hand. Cervical radiculopathy may occur by itself, or in conjunction with pinched nerves elsewhere in the upper extremity, as seen in carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. The cumulative effect of multiple sites of nerve compression is called double crush syndrome.
There are many causes for pinched nerves in the cervical spine including:
- Herniated discs
- Cervical spine arthritis
- Cervical spine injuries
- Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders
- Genetic factors
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of this condition can include:
- Pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates down the arm into the hand
- Neck pain may or may not be present
- Weakness or clumsiness of the hand, hand muscle atrophy
- Symptoms often worsened by certain neck movements
IS THERE A TEST FOR CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY?
Yes! By talking with you about your symptoms and medical history, and examining your neck and upper extremity, we may be able to diagnose cervical radiculopathy. Often an MRI of the neck is recommended to see where the nerve is being pinched. If multiple sites of nerve compression are suspected (double crush syndrome) a nerve test may be performed in order to confirm the location(s) of the pinched nerve(s) and help guide further treatment.
Our Hand Surgeons have extensive Orthopaedic Surgery training and are able to facilitate the initial workup and nonoperative treatment of cervical spine problems that are causing hand symptoms. If there are multiple sites of nerve compression (double crush syndrome), it is often recommended to go ahead and treat the pinched nerves in the wrist or elbow (carpal or tunnel syndrome) first, and then consider referral for cervical spine surgery only if symptoms are not adequately improved by these procedures which are much less invasive than spinal surgery.
- Activity modification recommendations
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical Therapy
- Steroid Injections
Neck surgery can be performed to remove herniated or bulging cervical spine discs that are compressing the nerve. Sometimes cervical spine fusion or disc replacement surgery is required to address the problem. We do not offer spine surgery at Hand Institute of Charleston but are happy to refer you to a reputable Spine Specialist in your community for further treatment.
READY TO CONFIRM A DIAGNOSIS AND FIX THE PROBLEM OR JUST WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Our Board-Certified Orthopaedic Hand and Wrist Surgeons are here to help! They can often diagnose the problem in one visit, and get you started with a treatment plan. We offer a wide variety of both nonoperative and operative treatment options.
This content is not a substitute for expert medical advice or diagnosis and is for educational purposes only.