Cervical nerve impingement: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
A pinched nerve (Cervical radiculopathy) is a constricted nerve. The surrounding tissues that cling to nerve roots can cause pain, numbness and irritation in different parts of your body. Often, the cause is a herniated disc that slides between the vertebrae in the spinal cord and pushes the spinal cord down the leg.
You may find pinched nerves in different parts of the spine, including your neck, or thoracic or lumbar spine. Narrow veins in the neck can cause radiculopathy. Symptoms of radiculopathy can include numbness, numbness, weakness, and pain in the arm.
Pinched nerve is often caused by aging changes that occur in the spine as we age, such as arthritis. In young people, it is often caused by a sudden injury that causes a herniated disc.
Pinched nerves can affect several areas of your body
- A pinched nerve in the cervical spine can give you stiff necks, and pain and numbness can affect the shoulder and arm.
- A pinched lumbar nerve in the lower back can cause pain in the spine, hips, buttocks and legs.
- Thoracic radiculopathy causes pain in the area of your chest. If you have severe chest pain, play safe and call your healthcare provider.
A pinched nerve can be painful, but can be treated with rest, over-the-counter medications and physical therapy. Most people recover fully from a broken nerve.
When Cervical Radiculopathy Is Serious
In rare cases, cervical radiculopathy can progress and numbness or weakness worsen despite treatment. The more severe the numbness or weakness in the shoulder, arm, or arm, the greater the likelihood that the defects will be permanent or cause paralysis.
When non-surgical treatment fails to properly control symptoms and nerve pressure is confirmed, surgery may need to be considered to reduce nervousness.
Risk factors for cervical nerve impingement
The following factors may increase your risk of developing nerve damage:
- Gender; Women are more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome, possibly due to having smaller carpal tunnels.
- Bone spurs; Trauma or a condition that causes bone thickness, such as osteoarthritis, can lead to bone spurs. Bone spurs can make the spinal cord stiff and also reduce the space your nerves travel, squeezing the arteries.
- Rheumatoid arthritis; Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can suppress nerves, especially in your joints.
- Thyroid disease; People with thyroid disease are at greater risk of carpal tunnel disease.
The most common cause of cervical radiculopathy is when the nerve root is swollen or damaged due to proximal bone implants or a herniated disc of the cervix, such as temporary spinal cord or injury.
Symptoms of cervical nerve impingement
Common symptoms of pinched nerve include neck pain that travels under the arms and shoulders, difficulty lifting objects, headaches, and muscle weakness and numbness or tingling in the fingers or hands. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in neck, shoulder, shoulder, upper chest, or arm. Pain can also radiate (external branch) into the fingers following the pathway of the nerve root involved.
- Severe pain, numbness / irritability, or electric shock anywhere in the nervous system.
- Weakness in shoulder, arm, or arm.
- Pain that increases with certain movements of the neck. Often looking at the ceiling and above the shoulder causes or exacerbates pain.
- Improving symptoms when the arm is raised above and behind the head. This movement removes tension in the spinal cord.
- Shoulder pain. The next cervical nerve, the C4, is responsible for part of your neck, your upper shoulder movements such as squatting and lifting, and your upper arms.
- Finger pain and weak grip. The end of the cervical nerve, C8, lets you grasp things and punch your fist. If you feel a pin-and-needle sensation, severe weakness, or numbness in your fourth or pink finger, or if you are unable to hold objects, the C8 may be the culprit.
When you suffer from cervical radiculopathy, there are also common neck pain and headaches on the back of your head. These are sometimes referred to as occipital headaches because the area behind the neck is called the “occiput.”
Causes of cervical nerve impingement
Cervical radiculopathy is often the result of degenerative changes that occur in the spinal cord as we age or as a result of a herniated disc, or bulging intervertebral disc. Common causes of cervical radiculopathy include:
Cervical foraminal stenosis; When the foramen (the openness of the bone where the nerve root exits the spinal canal) shrinks and becomes smaller, the nerve root has less space and can be blocked.
Degenerative changes; In middle-aged people, normal degenerative changes in the disc can cause pressure on the nerve roots. Cervical stenosis, for example, occurs when these changes reduce the spinal cord cavities, which causes them to compress nerve roots.
Herniated cervical disc; If the inner material of the cervical disc comes out and burns or affects the immediate nerve, it can lead to cervical radiculopathy. A herniated disc is more likely to occur due to injury or severe activity
Injury; In young people, cervical radiculopathy is the result of a ruptured disc, possibly due to trauma. Disks are often accompanied by activities, such as bending, lifting, twisting, or pulling. When a disc hernia, its material then compresses or inflames the nerve root, causing pain.
Fracture; If part of the vertebra is broken, the resulting instability or foraminal degeneration in the cervical spine can affect nerve roots. Such a fracture can be caused by an injury or spondylolisthesis of the cervix where one vertebra slips in front of the other.
Diagnosis of cervical nerve impingement
Typically, to achieve diagnosis, doctors will inquire about the symptoms and then examine the neck, shoulders, arms, and arms. Often, they will ask the person to move their arms and neck to see where they are experiencing weakness or pain.
MRI scan; Using a resonance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), doctors can visualize the spinal cord, soft tissue, and nerves in more detail than other types of scans. MRI scans can show how severe nerve pressure in the neck is severe. They will also allow doctors to see if a herniated disc causes nerve or spinal cord compression.
Electro myelography; (EMG) measures the speed of transmission of electrical impulses to nerves. Sometimes, doctors will prescribe this test to determine if a nerve or nerve group is working properly. In the case of a suspected nerve in the neck, EMG can help doctors determine which nerves are activated or pressed by the location where the stress occurs.
Tests; There are several tests that doctors can do to help them identify the tightness in the neck.
Spurling Test; The Spurling test involves stretching the neck, turning the head to the side where the symptoms occur, and applying pressure down to the top of the head.
X-ray; X-rays are one type of imaging that can assist in the diagnosis of neck pain. An X-ray can show the balance of the vertebrae in the neck. It may also indicate a decrease in the foramen and disc space between the vertebrae.
CT scan; Computed tomography (CT) scans show the bone in more detail than X-ray. Sometimes, doctors prescribe it in the work of a person with suspicious confidence.
Treatment of cervical nerve impingement
It is important to note that most patients with cervical radiculopathy get better over time and do not need treatment. For some patients, the pain passes quickly – for days or weeks. For some, it may take longer. Medical (non-surgical) control is the first line of treatment for compressed arteries. This includes:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a type of painkiller. They can reduce pain if the torn nerve is irritated or swollen. NSAIDs are widely available, and one can buy them at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. Corticosteroids are oral medications that reduce swelling and swelling around the nerves, reducing pain.
Steroid injections use anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain. Doctors may prescribe injections of a person if an MRI scan confirms a narrowed artery in the neck and if other treatments have not been proven effective. Steroid injections can be very effective in providing long-term pain relief to people with cervical radiculopathy.
In some cases, cervical radiculopathy will not improve with non-surgical care. In these cases your surgeon may recommend surgery to treat your cervical radiculopathy. Your surgeon may also recommend surgery if you begin to show symptoms of:
- Unbearable pain
- Increased vulnerability
- Increased numbness
- Muscle wasting
- The problem begins to affect the feet as well
Surgery aims to reduce pressure on the affected nerve and, in some cases, improve the balance of the cervical spine. For a complete description of the procedure for removing a disc and making a combination for neck pain, you may want to review a document called:
A physical therapist can show you the best nerve-trapped ways for your symptoms. Minor pain, however, can be eliminated with gentle exercise. These measures focus on stretching the neck muscles and reducing pressure on the nerves. To prevent further nerve damage, do these exercises slowly. You can do them while sitting or standing.
- Turning the head; Tight muscles can slow down your neck, but turning the head can help. Do this exercise slowly and with control.
- Neck bend; If you have a nerve in your neck, exercises such as a neck bend will provide stability. You should also do this stretch slowly.
- Chin tuck; This action reduces tension in the neck muscles by lengthening your neck. It will also improve posture in the head and neck.
4. Physical therapy
This may include cervical cancer and mobilization, exercise, and other ways to reduce pain. Improving neck and spine strength and flexibility can help them maintain a better posture and become more resistant to pain.
Whether you have surgery or not, your doctor may have a physical therapist working on an exercise program designed just for you. A physical therapist will teach you ways to prevent further injury to your neck. Many problems in the cervical spine can be greatly improved with a good exercise program and good education on neck mechanics.
5. Posture education
Posture education is an important part of helping you get better. Your physical therapist may recommend adjustments to your workplace and work habits. The goal of any change is to promote good posture and protect your neck.
In the early stages of recovery this may mean staying only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. They will also guide you on how to bend, reach and lift safely throughout the day. Proper posture will ensure that you put a small amount of pressure on your spinal discs.
See a doctor
Strained nerves can resolve on their own. This can take days, weeks, or months. See a doctor if your symptoms do not go away with home treatment. You should also seek medical help if your symptoms are severe or worsening.
The doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. Depending on your symptoms, they may also prescribe oral corticosteroids, steroid injections, or surgery.