Cervical Radiculopathy involves a compressed nerve in the cervical spine (neck) that causes pain that may radiate into the shoulder and arm. It is a common source of shoulder pain.
Cervical Radiculopathy develops as a result of normal wear and tear that can cause degenerative changes in the spine over time. As degenerative changes occur, discs may “shrink” together eventually resulting in arthritic changes and bone spurs. As these changes occur, radiculopathy may occur.
Imaging such as x-rays and an MRI scan can help to determine the affected nerve roots and direct treatment. In severe cases, electromyography (EMG) may be used to determine nerve damage. Early treatment for cervical radiculopathy is usually non-surgical involving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral corticosteroids, physical therapy, and sometimes steroid injections.
Although degeneration of the spine cannot always be prevented, practicing good posture and staying physically fit can reduce the risk.