Cervical radiculopathy is a condition when a nerve root in the cervical is inflamed or damaged, resulting in a change in neurological function. The clinical manifestations of cervical radiculopathy are broad and may include pain, sensory deficits, motor deficits, diminished reflexes, or any combination of the above.
Symptoms can either occur on one side of the body or it can occur bilaterally on both sides of the body.
What Is the Cause of Cervical Radiculopathy?
- Degenerative changes
As a result of aging, the properties of the intervertebral disc changes, causing it to collapse reducing the space between the vertebrae. Bone spurs starts to form around the joint to strengthen it. This abnormal formation of bone spurs may narrow the intervertebral foramen and pinch onto the nerve roots, producing symptoms.
- Herniated disc
The intervertebral disc is made up of a jelly-like center called the nucleus and a harder outer layer called the annulus. The disc herniates when the nucleus pushes out against the annulus into the spinal canal. The bulge may compress onto the nerve root causing pain, numbness and weakness to the innervated area.
Cervical radiculopathy is usually treated conservatively during the initial stage. Rest, medication, modification of exercise and physiotherapy is recommended. Physiotherapy treatment includes stretching and strengthening exercise routine helps to improve the neck’s strength and flexibility to maintain better posture while relieving symptoms. However, if symptom does not improve, surgery may be an option.
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