Some individuals suffer with neck pain that could end up radiating down into the arm and the shoulder. Most of the time, this pain is caused due to an injury near the spinal nerve root. This type of injury is often called a pinched nerve (radiculopathy). But it can also be called a trapped nerve.
Individuals with a disc problem in the neck often have disc degeneration or a herniated disc. Individuals with a herniated disc will often have weakness in the disc's outer wall. Those with degeneration have a disc that is broken down. Common risk factors include poor posture, repetitive forward neck bending, auto accidents, elderly patients, and high-impact sports.
Cervical Radiculopathy Anatomy
Numerous important structures are in the neck. The spinal cord, esophagus, trachea and large blood vessels all run through the neck. Seven stacked bones are within the neck. The column of bones begins underneath the skull and goes all the way to the upper back.
Inside of the spinal column, there is a tube for the spinal cord. This thick bundle of nerves begins at the base of the brain. Its job is to carry information between the brain and the body. The discs are between the vertebrae. They serve as a cushion between the vertebrae in the spine. All of the discs attach to the base of the vertebra above it and the one below it. Muscles and ligaments hold the column together. All of the structures work together to surround, support and protect the spinal cord.
Other things can contribute to a trapped nerve. Most often the trapped nerve is pinched by a disc, but there are other things in the neck that can cause a trapped nerve. The disc is particularly susceptible to poor posture and forward neck bending. So be careful laptop, tablet and smartphone users!
An MRI scan showing a cervical disc prolapse which caused a pinched nerve
An MRI axial image scan showing a trapped nerve from a disc prolapse
How to Treat Cervical Radiculopathy:
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