What is Cervical Radiculopathy, Disc Bulge, Herniation

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Cervical Radiculopathy: A Brief Note

Cervical radiculopathy is a medical condition that occurs due to damage or irritation of nerve roots that exit the cervical spine. This is also referred to as a ‘pinched nerve’. The cervical or neck region is the most mobile part of the vertebral column. A disc lies between the upper and lower vertebrae and functions as a shock absorber because of a soft nucleus pulposus located at the center of the disc. Foraminal narrowing or stenosis causes a pinch of spinal nerve which can cause radicular pain.

The primary symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain and/or neurological problems resulting from any type of condition that irritates a nerve in the neck. Another symptom of cervical radiculopathy is that there can be pain in the arm, neck, chest, upper back and/or shoulders. A person suffering from radiculopathy might experience muscle weakness and/or tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands.

About Disc Bulge and Herniation

Disc herniation and bulges occur more in neck than compared to low back, mid back or thorax. There are 33 vertebrae in the back bone, of which 7 are in the neck. A pinched nerve at C3-C4 causes neck or cervical pain. A pinched nerve at C5, C6, and C7 can cause numbness, weakness and pain in the hands along the nerve root into the fingers. Wear and tear of the disc can cause disc bulge, disc herniation or disc degeneration.

Multiple disc degeneration or herniation or bulging can cause spinal stenosis or a narrowing of the spinal canal resulting in pressure on multiple spinal nerves. Disc bulges and herniation are more common in the neck and low back than in thorax or mid back.