Neck herniation and cervical radiculopathy can cause pain in unexpected areas of your body, such as your shoulder, arm, elbow, or hand. The reason for this is that a nerve that originates in your neck travels all the way down to your hand, and any problem in your neck can affect the nerve and cause pain elsewhere. In this article, we’ll discuss neck herniation and cervical radiculopathy and their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Causes of Neck Herniation and Cervical Radiculopathy:

There are several reasons why a nerve root can become compressed:

Neck herniation: This occurs when the jelly-like material (nucleus) between the discs in your spine bulges out of the annulus (the outer layer of the disc) and compresses the nerve endings.

Spinal stenosis: Sometimes, the space between the vertebrae narrows, causing the nerve roots to become compressed.

Degenerative disc disease: As you age, the water content in your body decreases, causing chemical changes that can lead to the breakdown of the structure of your vertebrae. This breakdown can result in compression of the nerve roots.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Your doctor will examine your neck and perform various neck maneuvers to gather information about your symptoms. They may also order X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans to examine your spine in more detail.

The initial treatment for neck pain will consist of three steps aimed at reducing your symptoms:

Rest: A neck brace may be worn to rest your neck for a few days. However, long-term use of a neck brace is not recommended, as it can weaken your muscles and cause more problems in the long run.

Medication: Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used to reduce pain and swelling. If there is a lot of nerve compression, corticosteroids may be used for quick relief. However, the use and dosage of corticosteroids should be determined by your doctor.

Physical therapy: Isometric and stretching exercises, hot and cold therapies, and electrical stimulation treatments may be applied. Strengthening your neck muscles with appropriate exercises is essential for long-term results.

If your symptoms do not improve after 6-12 weeks, depending on the underlying cause, surgical treatment options may be considered.