In a cervical radiculopathy, there is pressure on a nerve root in the neck. This may be due to a herniated disc or bone overgrowth resulting from normal aging. Symptoms that may occur include radiating pain in the neck and arm, tingling, decreased sensation and decreased strength. The diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy can often be made from the questioning and examination. The treatment that follows consists of counseling, pain relief, mobilization. And in addition, exercise therapy, ultimately resulting in 90% of people being symptom-free in four to six months.
With a cervical radiculopathy, we really mean nothing more than that there is pressure on a nerve root in the neck. We sometimes see this same picture in the back. As in the back, this can be caused by a herniated disc (bulging disc). Another possible cause, for example, is bone overgrowth (osteophyte formation). A cervical radiculopathy is most common between the ages of forty and sixty. A radiculopathy is often located somewhere between the fifth cervical vertebra (C5-C6) and the first thoracic vertebra (C7-T1).
Symptoms that can occur with a cervical radiculopathy are pain in the neck with radiation to the arm (and hand). We then often see this in the course of a dermatome (area caring for the affected nerve). Furthermore, you may experience tingling, decreased sensation (sensibility) and reduced muscle strength. Reflexes may also be less strong and, in some cases, headaches may be among the symptoms. Not to worry, of course, this is not to say that if you have a headache, you have a radiculopathy.
A diagnosis can be made by the physiotherapists at Fysiofitaal Tilburg. Based on the interview and examination it can be determined if the source of complaints is a nerve. In addition, we have a good test battery to determine whether and at what vertebral level a radiculopathy is located. If it appears that a cervical radiculopathy is present, a targeted intervention will be designed. If no clear diagnosis can be made, an MRI scan can provide a definitive answer; this request is then submitted to the general practitioner.
Most people with cervical radiculopathy are symptom-free in four to six months. 90% of people also do not need to undergo surgery, thanks to the body's ability to repair itself. In addition, we see that in the majority of patients the symptoms diminish to such an extent in the first 4-6 weeks that daily life can be picked up almost complaint-free. Physical therapy is needed to coach the recovery and through mobilization techniques, pain relief and exercise therapy to speed up the recovery. Optionally, manual therapy may be used as part of the treatment to dampen pain. In general, a cervical radiculopathy recovers faster than a lumbar radiculopathy.
Are these symptoms recognizable to you? or do you suffer from other neck pain? make an appointment now with our manual therapist Ruben Luijkx.