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How to recognize cervical pinched nerve?

The medical terminology for an injury to a nerve root, which isoften referred to as a pinched nerve, is cervical radiculopathy. The spinalcord consists of 8 cervical nerves, and if any of them is either irritated orpinched by a bone spur or a part of the intervertebral disc, many problemsoccur. Most usually, weakness is present in the muscles and skin that the nervein question goes to, and sharp pain is also an accompanying symptom. Other signsthat may occur are numbness, the sensation known as pins and needles, whileactivities such as turning the head or straining and extending the neck (whenbending neck forward and backward, for example) may only worsen the symptoms. Whatis typical of cervical radiculopathy is that the symptoms do not necessarilyhave to be related to the neck, even though that is where the problem is. Partsof the body such as shoulder, arm or hand may also be affected, which helps adoctor 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 wellas the nerve that is the cause of the problem. Physical examination andinformation regarding the symptoms are usually enough for start, but there arealso several tests that can be performed in order to help. CT or MRI scanningmay be required, as well as electromyography. Once the nerve in question has been identified, the doctor may decide whether any treatment is necessary atall, because in the majority of the cases, the symptoms withdraw and disappearon their own after some time. However, if the symptoms don’t subside after sometime, some medications may be prescribed in order to reduce the nerve swellingand 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 alonger period of time, since it can affect the strength of the neck muscles ina negative way. Physical therapy is another helpful solution, since it offersmethods that will help the neck muscles to become stronger and stretched. Surgicaltreatment of this problem is also possible, but it is always regarded as alast resort, and it depends on numerous factors whether the doctor will suggestit at all.

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