Cervical radiculopathy, commonly known as “pinched” nerve is caused by injury to the root of a spinal nerve. It is characterized by neck pain that radiates to the shoulder and the arms. As we grow older, the spinal discs bulge and lose height. The vertebrae come closer and the disc collapses forming bone spurs in order to stiffen the spine. In this process, the bone spurs make the foramen narrow and pinch the root of the nerve. If these changes are caused as a process of ageing, the condition may be referred as arthritis or spondylosis.
The pain caused by this condition is sharp and may even be felt as pin or needle prick. It may worsen with extending the neck or turning the head. The diagnostic tests your doctor may advise include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electromyelography.
Often, cervical radiculopathy is treated by nonsurgical treatment methods such as use of soft collars, physical therapy, pain medications, or steroidal injections injected into spine. If the conservative treatments are a failure or if the condition is severe then your doctor may recommend surgical treatment. Surgery is done in order to create more space for the compressed nerves, to maintain stability of the spine and to provide proper alignment to the spine.