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Pinched Nerve Pain: Common Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

  Pinched Nerve Pain: Common Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

Experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your neck, shoulders, and arms is understandably a cause for concern. These types of symptoms often arise when one or more spinal nerves are compressed. When it happens in the neck region — your cervical spine — it’s called cervical radiculopathy.

A spine specialist is an excellent resource for learning about treatment options for cervical radiculopathy. At The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, provides individualized care to address acute and chronic spine issues, including cervical radiculopathy. The following are common causes of cervical radiculopathy.

Herniated discs

A herniated disc is one of the most common reasons a pinched nerve occurs in the spine. Your spinal discs provide cushion between the bones of your spine (vertebrae), absorbing shock and enabling you to move smoothly. 

When a disc herniates, its inner jelly-like contents leak out and press against nearby nerves. This pressure can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the areas that the affected nerves supply sensation to. Age and being overweight are the most common risk factors in why herniated discs develop. 

Degenerative disc disease

As you age, the discs in your spine can dry out and crack, causing the discs to lose their flexibility, elasticity, and ability to provide adequate cushioning. This is known as degenerative disc disease. As this condition progresses, you may experience chronic neck pain and cervical radiculopathy.

Bone spurs

When discs lose their height, the body sometimes creates additional bone to fill the space. These projections are called bone spurs. 

In some cases, the growths project outward too far, encroaching on the spaces where nerves exit the spinal column, irritating and compressing the nerves and causing cervical radiculopathy. 

Bone spurs are more common in older adults. You’re also more likely to have bone spurs if you have arthritis or if you sustained a spinal injury in the past. 

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is another common cause of pinched nerves in the neck. It refers to the narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. 

Degenerative changes, such as ligament thickening, bone spurs, and bulging discs are often responsible for spinal stenosis. Symptoms of cervical stenosis can include neck pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands. In severe cases, it may also affect balance and coordination.

Neck arthritis

Cervical spondylosis, also known as neck arthritis, occurs due to age-related wear and tear. More than 85% of people over 60 have some form of neck arthritis, but not everyone experiences chronic neck pain or abnormal sensations. 

Degenerative changes, such as a decrease in disc height and bone spur formation, can compress the nerves and cause cervical radiculopathy.

Getting relief from cervical radiculopathy

Treating cervical radiculopathy comes down to addressing the underlying cause. You can count on the team at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas to provide a diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and restore your quality of life. 

Contact us today to request a consultation with Dr. Jones. We’re located in Pearland and Lake Jackson, Texas.

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