Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy is most commonly known as a “pinched nerve” at the top section of the spine. This sort of injury is typically characterized with pain that radiates from the neck to the shoulders and spine.

Why does this pinched nerve occur?

One of the reasons for this occurrence is that as we age, our intervertebral discs, that separate each vertebrae of the spine, begin to shorten in height.  As this happens, the vertebrae become closer together. The body tries to over-compensate for the weakening discs by building bone spurs around the discs. These bone spurs can eventually narrow the space of the foramen and pinch the spinal nerve. Additionally, and quite common in younger people, disc herniations can cause a pinched nerve and cervical radiculopathy.


  • Sharp pain along the arm or shoulder following the pinched nerve
  • A “pins and needles feeling”
  • Possible numbness sometimes with weakness

  Tests that can be performed to detect cervical radiculopathy:

  • X-Rays
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI)
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies

 Non-surgical treatments:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Wearing a soft collar brace
  • Medications such as narcotics, muscle relaxants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), like ibuprofen.  Injections may be appropriate depending upon the source of the cervical radiculopathy.