Treating Cervical Radiculopathy and Knowing its Symptoms
Body pains are serious conditions which you cannot ignore or “walk off”, especially if you have been diagnosed with a condition call Cervical Radiculopathy. This condition occurs when the nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae are compressed. This shoots bolts of pain along the pathway of the nerves extending to the arms, hands, and fingers. It also causes a loss of sensation in the affected area. This condition isn’t something that go away after taking a couple of pain killers or by shaking it off. We also have to keep in mind that pain killers are a temporary solution and do not really address the problem, they can also damage the liver if taken for a long period of time.
What is Cervical Radiculopathy?
Cervical Radiculopathy is a condition that we are inflicted with when nerves near the cervical vertebrae are damaged or disturbed. A formainal encroachment of the spine nerve causes the condition, as such 75% of cases of cervical radiculopathy often start with pain in the spinal nerve first.
What Causes It?
The most common causes include:
- Degenerative changes to bones
- Injuries that pressure nerve roots near the cervices
- Ruptured disc
Another factor that we cannot stop is age. The younger people who get CR, tend to get it because of ruptured discs caused by injuries or trauma. Middle aged people get it because of the degeneration of the bones which leads to discs putting pressure on nerve roots.
Our usual suspects for CR include pain felt on the arm, neck, chest, upper back, and shoulders. This usually comes with numbness or weakness in the fingers and hands preventing you from gripping things tightly. Another noticeable symptom would be a reduction in hand to eye coordination.
There are 4 Types of Radiculopathy:
- G5 Radiculopathy
- C6 Radiculopathy
- C7 Radiculopathy
- C8 Radiculopathy
Consulting a doctor will help you determine what type of CR you have. Most commonly a C7 radiculopathy is what is found.
How is it treated?
Commonly the first advice a doctor would give after identifying the condition would be to reduce mobility. Keeping the affected parts at rest relieves the pain and also reduces the swelling. Once the inflammation is eliminated proper treatment of the condition will be done. To help ease the pain here are some tips for you:
- Upgrade your pillows – Switching to a more comfortable pillow is the first thing that you need to do as you would need to rest a lot. Reduce the amount of pillows you use to keep your body in a neutral position when resting. A special neck pillow is recommended as iit gives added support and lessens the stress the neck recieves.
- Pain killers – The fastest and easiest way to get through the pain would by be taking prescription or over the counter pain killers. Taking them along with anti-inflammatory meds is recommended to lessen the swelling. As per any medication always seek the advice if your doctor before ingesting pain killers as they may have adverse side effects or you may be allergic to some of them.
- Collars or neck braces – In some more severe cases, collars or neck braces are used to provide support around the neck when needed.
- Compression Sleeves – These articles of clothing improve the blood flow to the affected areas. Wearing a compression sleeve helps lessen the numbness felt on the arm can be alleviated with an elbow sleeve. The compression will help in the blood flow and lessen the numbness of the muscles.
- Exercises – Ones the inflammation has gone down, engaging in physical activities such as exercise and physical therapy is advised. This will helps promote mobalization of the joints and muscles which also promote the mobilization reduce the pain.
- Massage Therapy – Massages are a great way to alleviate yourself from the pain caused by CR.
- Hot and Cold compress – Alternating cold and hot compress pressing for about 15 minutes can reduce the pain.
- Spinal Injections – A series of sessions with a doctor who will provide spinal injections be helpful for cervical radiculopathy pain and prevent surgery.
- Surgery – The worst case scenario would be a need to undergo surgery. This is the last option to be taken if the damage on the nerve and the spine which is caused by trauma or degeneration cannot be remedied by steroids and therapy anymore.
As always, consult a doctor so that you could understand what is causing the pain.