How to recognize cervical pinched nerve?
The medical terminology for an injury to a nerve root, which is often referred to as a pinched nerve, is cervical radiculopathy. The spinal cord consists of 8 cervical nerves, and if any of them is either irritated or pinched by a bone spur or a part of the intervertebral disc, many problems occur. Most usually, weakness is present in the muscles and skin that the nerve in question goes to, and sharp pain is also an accompanying symptom. Other signs that may occur are numbness, the sensation known as pins and needles, while activities such as turning the head or straining and extending the neck (when bending neck forward and backward, for example) may only worsen the symptoms. What is typical of cervical radiculopathy is that the symptoms do not necessarily have to be related to the neck, even though that is where the problem is. Parts of the body such as shoulder, arm or hand may also be affected, which helps a doctor to determine which nerve exactly is the cause of the problem.
How to deal with the cervical pinched nerve?
It is necessary to determine the cause of the pain, as well as the nerve that is the cause of the problem. Physical examination and information regarding the symptoms are usually enough for start, but there are also several tests that can be performed in order to help. CT or MRI scanning may be required, as well as electromyography. Once the nerve in question has been identified, the doctor may decide whether any treatment is necessary at all, because in the majority of the cases, the symptoms withdraw and disappear on their own after some time. However, if the symptoms don’t subside after some time, some medications may be prescribed in order to reduce the nerve swelling and pain, and NSAIDs, oral corticosteroids and narcotics are available options. Soft collars limit the motion of the neck, but they should not be worn for a longer period of time, since it can affect the strength of the neck muscles in a negative way. Physical therapy is another helpful solution, since it offers methods that will help the neck muscles to become stronger and stretched. Surgical treatment of this problem is also possible, but it is always regarded as a last resort, and it depends on numerous factors whether the doctor will suggest it at all.