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Cervical radiculopathy - radiating neck pain

In a cervical radiculopathy there is pressure on a nerve root in the neck. This can be caused by a hernia or bone overgrowth as a result of normal ageing. Symptoms that can occur include radiating pain in the neck and arm, tingling, decreased sensation and decreased strength. The diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy can often be made on the basis of an interview and examination. The treatment that follows consists of advice, pain relief and mobilization. In addition, there is exercise therapy, with the result that 90% of the people are symptom free in four to six months.

Cause

With a cervical radiculopathy we actually mean nothing more than that there is pressure on a nerve root in the neck. We sometimes see this same picture in the back. Just like in the back, this can be caused by a hernia (bulging disc). Another possible cause is, for example, bone overgrowth (osteophytosis). A cervical radiculopathy is most common in the 40-60 age group. A radiculopathy is often located somewhere between the fifth cervical vertebra (C5-C6) and the first thoracic vertebra (C7-T1).
Radiating neck pain

Symptoms

Symptoms that can occur with a cervical radiculopathy are pain in the neck with radiation into the arm (and hand). We often see this in the course of a dermatome (area that supplies the nerve in question). You can also experience tingling, reduced sensation (sensitivity) and reduced muscle strength. Also, reflexes can be less strong and in some cases headaches can be part of the complaints. Do not worry, this does not mean that you have a radiculopathy when you have a headache.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis can be made by the physiotherapists at Fysiofitaal Tilburg. Based on the interview and examination it can be determined whether the source of complaints is a nerve. We also have a good battery of tests to determine whether a radiculopathy is present and at what vertebral level. Should it turn out that there is a cervical radiculopathy, a targeted intervention will be drawn up. If no clear diagnosis can be made, an MRI scan could provide a definite answer; this request is then made to the general practitioner.

Treatment

Most people with cervical radiculopathy are symptom free in four to six months. 90% of the people do not have to undergo surgery either, thanks to the body's ability to recover. In addition, we see that in the majority of patients the symptoms subside so much in the first 4-6 weeks that daily life can be resumed almost without complaints. Physical therapy is necessary to coach the recovery and to speed up the recovery by means of mobilization techniques, pain reduction and exercise therapy. If necessary, manual therapy can be used as part of the treatment to reduce pain. In general, a cervical radiculopathy recovers faster than a lumbar radiculopathy.
If these complaints are recognisable to you, or if you suffer from other neck problems, make an appointment with our manual therapist Ruben Luijkx.

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