Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy
The symptoms begin in the neck and travel down to other areas of the body, specifically the upper limbs. A patient with a cervical disc issue will present with pain, tingling sensation, numbness, weakness, and reduced reflexes. The pain is usually sharp or burning in nature. Neck movements such as extending or straining can aggravate pain.
When the patient visits the clinic, the specialist typically will take a brief medical history, physical examination, and order some images. The imaging tests include x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and electromyography. Once the required tests are completed, the doctor will finalize the diagnosis and recommend treatment.
Treating cervical radiculopathy
Conservative treatments are the initial solution to treat tingling arm pain or any other associated symptoms. Physical therapy is advised to reduce pain and improve the range of movements. A soft cervical collar is given to limit neck movements to reduce nerve pinching. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral steroids are often recommended to alleviate pain. Sometimes, in moderate to severe cases, steroid injections are given to lessen inflammation, or stronger medications like narcotics are prescribed.
Is surgery necessary?
If non-surgical treatment options do not work, the doctor may recommend surgery. There is a wide range of surgical procedures to treat cervical disc issues. The chosen surgical procedure depends on factors such as the exact location and presenting symptoms. If the doctor suggests surgery, ask about the types of surgical procedures and the outlook of each type.
There are always ways to mitigate the risk of developing cervical radiculopathy symptoms. Staying healthy, exercising, and maintaining good posture are good habits. Additionally, avoiding risk factors such as smoking tobacco, heavy lifting, and playing golf is beneficial.
Experiencing a pinched nerve
A pinched nerve in the cervical disc area leading to symptoms such as a tingling arm requires a doctor’s visit. The healthcare provider will evaluate and recommend the best treatment choice. The specialist will also ask the patient to take precautions and avoid certain activities or movements. The outlook varies for each person, but most people treated conservatively have a good prognosis.