Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy in Southern California

Cervical radiculopathy refers to the radiating arm pain, numbness, or weakness caused by compression, inflammation or pinching of a spinal nerve in the neck. Cervical radiculopathy can result from an herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or stenosis of the cervical spine.

Cervical radiculopathy results from damaged or disturbance in nerve function. This can occur as a result of pressure from material from a ruptured disc, degenerative changes in bones, arthritis or other injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots. In middle-aged people, normal aging of the spine can cause pressure on nerve roots. In much younger people, cervical radiculopathy is normally caused by ruptured disc from a trauma, compressing the nerve roots and causing pain.
The most common symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads or radiates into the arm, neck, chest, upper back and/or shoulders. Patients with cervical radiculopathy may also experience muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in fingers or hands. Other symptoms may include lack of coordination, especially in the hands.
Your minimally invasive spine surgeons at ONE® Brain & Spine Center® will gather the information about your symptoms as a way to determine which specific nerve is damaged or disturbed, starting with a complete history of the problem. Your will be asked questions about your symptoms and how your problem is affecting your daily activities.

Physical examination will be conducted to see which neck movements cause pain. Your skin sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes are tested in order to tell where the nerve problem is coming from. Imaging and other tests may be required to see the causes of the pressure on the nerve.

  • X-ray – X-ray images can show whether degeneration has caused the space between the vertebrae to collapse, and if a bone spur is pressing against a nerve.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – MRI shows the soft tissues of the body and gives clearer picture of the discs, nerves and soft tissues in the neck.
  • Electromyography (EMG)- This tests nerve functions and is only needed when results from other diagnosis are not clear.
Cervical radiculopathy may be treated with a combination of non-surgical and surgical procedures. Initial treatment may include pain and anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids or non-steroidal pain medication like ibuprofen and physical therapy. Steroids may be prescribed either orally or injected epidurally (into the space above the dura, which is the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord).

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Soft neck collar
  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Physical therapy

Minimally Invasive Surgical Treatments

  • Posterior Cervical and Lumbar Microdiscectomy (Microdecompression)- Microdiscectomy, also known as microdecompression, is one of the most commonly performed minimally invasive spine procedures. Beneficial for those with damaged discs at either the cervical or lumbar level, microdiscectomy effectively removes the pressure off the spinal nerves, relieving chronic neck and back pain without the recovery and rehabilitation time required with traditional, open discectomy spine surgery. Read more about Microdecompression.
  • Posterior Cervical Fusion with Instrumentation – Cervical fusions may also be recommended for other spinal conditions, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, disc herniations or bulges, spondylosis, deformity or spinal tumors. The goal of posterior cervical fusion with instrumentation is to reduce or eliminate neck pain, referred arm and hand pain, and stabilize the neck and spine. Read more about Posterior Cervical Fusion with Instrumentation.
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) and Instrumentation –An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a common procedure recommended for those with chronic, severe neck pain. Read more about ACDF.
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine Arthroplasty – Spine arthroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the placement of an artificial disc after the removal of a damaged disc. Read more about Cervical and Lumbar Spine Arthroplasty.

Offering the latest in innovative, minimally invasive spine procedures and orthopedic care in Southern California, the team at ONE® Brain & Spine Center® is focused on helping our patients live the best life possible while making informed decisions about their healthcare. Call (949) 383-4190 or Contact Us today for an appointment.