A Brief Overview of Cervical Radiculopathy

A board-certified spine surgeon, Ra’Kerry Rahman, MD, has a distinguished educational background and is recognized as one of the Midwest’s premier spine surgeons. Currently practicing at Springfield Clinic, LLP, in Illinois, Dr. RaKerry Rahman specializes in treating various cervical spine problems, such as radiculopathy, and was voted Best Faculty at the Cervical Spine Decompression and Stabilization Course in 2012.

Although radiculopathy can occur in any part of the spine, cervical radiculopathy is localized to the cervical nerves in the neck. It is a condition that causes neurological symptoms and pain due to a damaged or compressed nerve. Depending on the location of the damaged cervical nerves, symptoms may also be seen in the body’s upper extremities, like in the arm and hand. The main symptom associated with cervical radiculopathy is pain in the shoulders, neck, chest, and arm. Pain can be either dull and localized or more severe and sharp, and it can be made worse by certain movements of the neck. Patients may also experience numbness in the fingers or hands.

Any problems that irritate the cervical nerve can cause cervical radiculopathy, whether it’s arthritis or a ruptured disc. Most commonly, the problem results from cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical herniated disc, or cervical spinal stenosis. Disc degeneration is most often the cause of cervical radiculopathy in middle-aged people, while a ruptured disc is typically the cause in younger individuals. Treatment for cervical radiculopathy largely depends on what ultimately caused the problem, along with how severe the symptoms are. Common treatment includes physical therapy, pain medication, or surgery.

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