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Cervical Radiculopathy

James Zaslavsky, D.O.

Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that most people will experience at one point in their life. It comes from a bone spur, disc herniation, and even just simple disc degeneration. One of these culprits will pinch a nerve that travels down the arm.  You may experience pain, numbness, tingling and weakness.   Sometimes the worst of your symptoms is neck pain. Many times, the most limiting pain is in the arm itself and neck pain may be absent from the total picture.

Treatment for this condition starts with conservative options. Anti-inflammatory medications rest, and ice could be effective for initial onset of symptoms. Prescription steroid pain medication and muscle relaxers could be also helpful in alleviating discomfort.  Physical therapy is also important in improving the symptoms and getting the pressure off of the pinched nerve. Cervical traction is a very helpful modality that can assist in this task.

Spinal injections would be the next line of treatment and would involve placing a steroid medication directly on top of the pinched nerve to relieve the swelling and hopefully settle down the shooting pain traveling down the arm. Sometimes a series of two or three are necessary before a patient can get complete relief.

Surgery for this problem is always last. In a vast majority of patients this problem can be treated with a cervical disc replacement rather than a cervical fusion. Patients with a disc replacement have very little downtime and can start to do almost all activities in two weeks. There is no need to wear a brace. There is also much less risk of surgical failure and further degeneration at the other discs in the cervical spine. It allows the neck to move naturally without residual restrictions. Please call today to be evaluated for any pain you may have in the neck or the arm and receive the best care for your neck and back!