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Cervical Radiculopathy

Neck and arm pain can result from different causes, the most common being an irritated nerve in the neck (known as radiculopathy). This condition arises due the impinging of one or more nerves in the neck as they leave the spine. It most commonly affects the nerves at the lower levels of the neck, as the space between each vertebra is inherently narrower in this region. As a result, these nerves do not have as much room to travel when compared to other areas of the spine.

What are the symptoms?


Symptoms of radiculopathy are often more pronounced in the arm than the neck, and can vary depending on the extent of nerve involvement. Arm pain is common, as are pins and needles, numbness, and arm weakness. However, if the irritation of the nerve is of a gradual onset, you may not actually develop pain in the arm. The nerves involved may also become sensitive to certain neck movements (e.g. turning the neck to the side), and such positions may aggravate symptoms.

Cervical Radiculopathy

How is it diagnosed?


Diagnosis of radiculopathy is made by your physiotherapist, based on your symptoms and response to specific tests of your neck and arm. Radiological investigations such as x-ray and MRI are usually not required.

How is it managed?


Management of radiculopathy involves:
  • Explanation of the condition.
  • Advice on avoiding specific positions and activities so as to reduce symptoms.
  • Exercises to improve control of movement and mobility of nerves in the neck.
  • Manual therapy to reduce pain.

Recovery rates for radiculopathy are good, with the vast majority of people will improving with physiotherapy. If you are experiencing neck and arm pain, it is best not to ignore it. Our highly trained physiotherapists can help appropriately manage your symptoms.

Want specific advice for your individual situation? Make an appointment today on (07) 3846 4800.

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