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Cervical Radiculopathy

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

It refers to pain and/or neurological symptoms (numbness and tingling) resulting from any type of condition that irritates a nerve in the neck.

Can physiotherapy help people with cervical radiculopathy?

Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for cervical radiculopathy, and in many cases, it completely resolves the symptoms. The main focus of physiotherapy is to decrease pain and disability.

What causes cervical radiculopathy?

Any condition that causes irritation of the nerve as it exits the spine either through physical compression or chemical irritation from swelling around the nerve root can cause radiculopathy. Common conditions include the following:

  • Herniated disc in the neck – quite common in young people between ages 20 and 30

  • Spinal stenosis in the neck – common in people who are 60 years and over

  • Degenerative disc disease – common in people who are over the age of 50

How do I know I have cervical radiculopathy?

You will experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck which spreads down the arm

  • Pain worsens with neck movements

  • Pain gets relieved when the arm is lifted above and behind the head

  • Muscle weakness

  • Numbness and tingling in the areas served by the affected nerve (a feeling of ‘pins and needles’ in the fingers or hands)

  • Loss of sensation

  • Headaches

  • Scapular pain

  • Sleep disturbance

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