Pain Physicians NY (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx NYC) is one of the first practices in New York to offer an alternative treatment for pain in the neck. We offer various cutting-edge treatments like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections, Interstitial Laser Therapy, Pulse Stimulation Treatment (P-STIM), Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy.
Any condition that affects the nerves of the neck are described as cervical radiculopathy. The neck, medically referred to as the cervical spine, is formed by 8 vertebrae that start from the base of the skull to the shoulders.
Cervical nerves radiate out of 7 of these vertebrae and branch out to supply sensation to the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Cervical radiculopathy, therefore, causes symptoms across the entire upper body and the extremities.
Signs and symptoms of cervical radiculopathy
Often, damage to the cervical nerves causes damage to the entire region served by the specific nerve. For example, there may be a pain in the shoulder if the affected nerve was responsible for supplying sensation to the shoulder. Most of the time, though cervical radiculopathy affects the entire arm, from the shoulder to the fingers. The pain varies from one person to the other, sometimes presenting as a sharp and severe pain, while others experience a dull pain all over the arm.
Besides pain, cervical radiculopathy may cause weakness in the arm and numbness in the affected areas. It can also cause a tingling sensation usually described as ‘pins and needles’ kind of pain.
Muscle weakness is often common of the affected arm.
What are the causes of cervical radiculopathy?
Because any condition affecting the cervical nerve can lead to cervical radiculopathy, there are several causes that lead to it.
However, the most common causes include:
- Cervical spinal stenosis: this occurs when the spinal canal in the neck becomes narrow, leading to increased pressure on the spinal cord. It is a natural process that occurs with age and is common among those above 50 years of age
- Cervical herniated disc: this is when the inner core of one of the vertebrae in the cervical spine leaks out and presses upon a cervical nerve. This is also a natural process with age, although it can also be the result of trauma to the neck
- Cervical degenerative disc: the cervical spine will degenerate over time, leading to symptoms like a stiff neck. As the process continues, it may eventually affect the cervical nerves and lead to cervical radiculopathy
- Fracture: due to direct trauma to the neck, one of the vertebrae can be fractured and press upon a cervical nerve, leading to symptoms of cervical radiculopathy
There are many other causes of cervical radiculopathy including sarcoidosis and tumors that all affect the normal functioning of cervical nerves.
Diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy
The diagnosis of this problem is initially done through an analysis of the symptoms experienced by the patient. However, these may not be enough and further tests need to be done to eliminate other causes of the pain felt. Most of these tests involve scans that provide images of the spinal vertebrae in the neck such as X-rays, CT, MRI scans and electromyography.
Treatment of cervical radiculopathy
Most of the patients diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy do not need any treatment as the symptoms may go away in a few weeks. In case the symptoms are severe, conservative measures may be taken that relieve them and enable the patient to function. These include:
- Cervical collars
- Physical therapy
- Interspinous Stabilization (Coflex™)
- Percutaneous Cervical Disc Nucleoplasty
This minimally-invasive procedure uses a small needle and advanced radiofrequency technology to reduce a herniated disc. The procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
- Steroid injections
- Oral corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
In the worst cases, surgery may be performed on the cervical spine to solve the problem.
Surgical therapy is the last treatment option when other methods have failed to relieve and control the signs and symptoms of Cervical radiculopathy.
The most advanced pain management center, Brooklyn neck pain management doctors and specialists at Pain Physicians NY offer a unique, individualized approach. We are using the most effective neck pain management options utilizing the latest technologies available in the USA.
We always consider a non-invasive treatment options first before we turn to more invasive procedures like minimally invasive surgery.