Cervical Radiculopathy – Carrollton, TX
Dr. Guess is a leading spine specialist serving patients across Carrollton, TX. He has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating various spine conditions, including Spinal Stenosis, Cervical Radiculopathy, Scoliosis, Spondylosis etc.

Cervical Radiculopathy

The spine is made up of 24 small bones stacked one above the other to form a canal type of structure. These bones are embedded with thick membrane kind of discs that protect the spinal canal from external shocks. Besides these, there are several nerves that emerge out of the inter-vertebral spaces (foramen) and run across the body to relay messages from the brain to various parts of the body. The neck region of the spine is referred to as the cervical spine and it comprises of 7 vertebrae. The neck begins at the base of skull and ends at the shoulder plate. Cervical Radiculopathy is a medical condition that affects the cervical part of the spine. In this case, the nerves that emerge out of the cervical vertebrae may get irritated or compressed. This is commonly termed as nerve pinching and it creates a host of problems for the patient. This problem can be treated well in most cases although the disease has a tendency to reoccur.

Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy

  • In younger people, Cervical Radiculopathy occurs due to external trauma or injury to the neck
  • Arthritis or Spondylosis are a major cause of cervical Radiculopathy in middle aged and elder people
  • Natural wear and tear of the bones and the discs due to ageing is the major cause in older population
  • Herniated Disc- The flat membrane type of discs may get damaged or dry out which reduces the natural protection of the spine and results in loss of spine height. This may potentially damage of the vertebrae in the cervical spine
  • Bone spurs- Loss of cervical height or intervertebral disc space forces the body to produce additional bone mass to counter balance the problem. These are called bone spurs and they make the spine stiff resulting in additional pressure on the nerve roots
  • Overuse injuries- Excessive bending, lifting weights, sitting for long hours and standing stresses the spine and leads to wear and tear of the structural components
  • Vehicular accidents, sports injuries, direct falls and combats can injure the cervical spine
  • Spinal Tumor can also compress the nerves

Symptoms Of Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Pain characteristically begins in the neck and radiates downwards into the shoulders, arms and hands
  • Numbness or loss of sensation may be felt in the upper part of the body
  • Muscle weakness and instability is experienced
  • Some patients may complain of a tingling or pricking sensation in the back and hands
  • Pain in the neck and upper body tends to ease out if the patient raises his hand above the head
  • Limited range of motion

Diagnosis Of Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Details of the patient’s medical, family history as well as their occupation and lifestyle are taken into consideration
  • Physical examination of the neck, shoulders, arms and hands by the orthopedic. This helps diagnose changes in reflexes, loss of sensation and range of motion intact
  • The patient may be asked to move their upper body in different directions to see what type of movements cause pain or help in easing out the symptoms
  • X-ray imaging may be conducted to study the changes in bone structure of the spine. Loss of spine height and disc spaces
  • CT scan reveals bone spurs and degeneration of the discs
  • MRI tests are detailed images that reveal the changes in soft tissue structure and the location of pinched nerves
  • Nerve conduction tests and EMG may be used to assess the functioning of the nerve roots

Treatment For Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Cervical Radiculopathy can be treated through conservative methods in most cases and the patients can recover within a few weeks. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be needed.
  • Use of a soft neck collar which helps to relax the muscles and prevent the movement of the neck
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and pain killers may be prescribed
  • Physical therapy is beneficial in reducing pain and stiffness as well as improving the overall functioning of the spine
  • Gentle traction may be applied to reduce pressure on compressed discs and vertebrae
  • Corticosteroids may be administered orally or injected directly into the cervical spine to combat pain and swelling
  • Osteopathic manipulation- The cervical spine is gently manipulated to improve joint movement and reduces the pain
  • All activities that increase the neck pain or cause stiffness need to be avoided
  • In advanced cases of Cervical Radiculopathy, surgical procedure may be performed to remove bone spurs, damaged discs and vertebrae to create more space in the spine and thus reduce the pressure on the nerves

For treatment of Cervical Radiculopathy and other spine conditions, visit Dr. Guess. To schedule an appointment with the spine specialist in Carrollton, TX, call at (972) 492 – 1334.