Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy is essentially a pinched nerve in the neck. A herniated disc or bone spur may pinch or compress the nerve root, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck and/or arm. Treatment can improve quality of life and alleviate symptoms from cervical radiculopathy.

  • Symptoms

  • Treatment


Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy can include:

  • Pain that radiates from the neck to the head, shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers
  • Numbness or loss of sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Weakened reflexes
  • Tingling feeling like “pins and needles”
  • Increased pain with certain neck movements, such as turning the head or extending the neck
  • Reduced coordination

Symptoms typically affect only one side of the body (such as one arm only).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have cervical radiculopathy?

A diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy can be confirmed with an evaluation of symptoms, a physical examination, detailed medical history, and diagnostic testing (such as X-ray, CT scan, EMG, and/or MRI).

What causes cervical radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy may be caused by a herniated disc or degenerative changes to the spine (such as bone spurs).

What are the risks of not treating cervical radiculopathy?

The most common risk of not treating cervical radiculopathy is that symptoms can become chronic (and may worsen over time). Pain and weakness may lead to slower reflexes and reduce coordination. Since most patients with cervical radiculopathy experience relief through nonsurgical treatment methods, it is recommended that patients try conservative treatments as recommended by their orthopedic surgeon to help manage symptoms and safeguard long-term spinal health.

What is the outcome for cervical radiculopathy?

The outcome for patients with cervical radiculopathy depends on severity of symptoms, overall health, the cause of cervical radiculopathy, and which nerve is affected. Most of the time, patients who go through conservative treatments will experience symptom relief and have a good prognosis. For those with cervical radiculopathy caused by spinal degeneration, there is a greater likelihood of recurrence; these patients may be advised to get regular check-ups to monitor their spinal health.