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Cervical Radiculopathy

Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center

Neurosurgery located in Scottsdale, AZ & Tucson, AZ

Cervical radiculopathy is quite literally a pain in the neck. With the condition, nerve roots are under pressure in the cervical vertebrae of your neck, causing pain that radiates down into your arms. Expert neurosurgeons Abhishiek Sharma, MD, and Erik Curtis, MD, of Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Phoenix, have considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating cervical radiculopathy. They provide a range of effective noninvasive therapies and advanced surgical procedures to treat the condition. Schedule your consultation by calling Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center today, or book an appointment online.

Cervical Radiculopathy Q & A

What is cervical radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy develops as a result of pressure on the roots of nerves near the cervical vertebrae in your neck. If the nerve roots are under pressure, the nerve doesn’t work as it should, causing pain and altering your sense of touch.

Nerves with roots near the cervical vertebrae travel down your arm and into your hand, so that’s where you feel the effects of cervical radiculopathy. The chief symptom is pain that radiates from the neck into the upper back, shoulder, chest, and down the arm.

You may also experience weakness in your muscles in those areas, numbness or tingling, and loss of coordination. You may experience symptoms along the entire path of the nerve, or only in certain parts, depending on how the compression affects the nerve roots.

What causes cervical radiculopathy?

The compression of the nerve roots that causes cervical radiculopathy arises for several reasons, including:

  • Cervical foraminal stenosis
  • Herniated cervical disc
  • Cervical degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis

In younger patients with cervical radiculopathy, a herniated or ruptured disc is the most common cause. In older patients, a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease is more likely to blame.

How is cervical radiculopathy diagnosed?

When you visit Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center, your provider discusses your symptoms with you, reviews your medical history, and performs a physical exam. They look at your nerve responses, reflexes, and how well your arm works, which tells them the likeliest cause of your symptoms.

You may also need to undergo diagnostic imaging and functional tests, such as:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI 
  • EMG (electromyogram)
  • Nerve-conduction study

The results of these tests enable your provider to isolate the affected nerve and see how severe the damage is, which helps them to create an appropriate treatment plan.

What treatments are available for cervical radiculopathy?

Treatments for cervical radiculopathy include:

  • Epidural spinal injections
  • Exercise
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy

If these treatments don’t improve your symptoms, your provider may suggest surgical intervention to replace a damaged or ruptured cervical disc with an artificial disc.

If you experience any symptoms of cervical radiculopathy, call Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center today or book an appointment online.

If you're looking for a neurosurgeon in the Phoenix area, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center for the ultimate neurological care.