Radiculopathy, Cervical - Fairview Health Services
 
Print

Doctors and providers who treat this condition

  

Pinched Nerve, Neck [Cervical Radiculopathy]

A pinched nerve in the neck (also called "Cervical Radiculopathy") is caused by irritation or pressure on the nerve that goes from the spinal cord to the arm. This may be caused by a bulging spinal disk (a "spinal disk" is the cushion between each spinal bone) or narrowing of the spinal joint due to arthritis.

Part of the spine, showing irritated nerves

This can cause numbness, tingling, deep aching or electrical shooting pain from the side of the neck all the way down to the fingers on one side.

A pinched nerve may begin after a sudden turning/bending force (such as in a car accident) or after a simple awkward movement. In either case, muscle spasm is commonly present and contributes to the pain.

Home Care:

1) Rest and relax the muscles. Use a comfortable pillow that supports the head and keeps the spine in a neutral position. The position of the head should not be tilted forward or backward. A rolled up towel may help for a custom fit.

2) Some persons find relief with heat (hot shower, hot bath or heating pad) and massage, while others prefer cold packs (crushed or cubed ice in a plastic bag, wrapped in a towel) . Try both and use the method that feels best for 20 minutes several times a day.

3) You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [ NOTE : If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]

Follow Up

with your physician or this facility if your symptoms do not show signs of improvement after one week. Further testing may be needed.

[NOTE: If x-rays were taken, they will be reviewed by a radiologist. You will be notified of any new findings that may affect your care.]

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

-- Pain becomes worse and not controlled by prescribed pain medicine

-- Weakness in the arm

-- Increasing numbness in the arm

-- Trouble breathing or swallowing

 

 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2012 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.