What is Cervical Radiculopathy?


Cervical radiculopathy describes pain or tingling in the arms, hands or fingers that is the result of a condition that irritates a nerve in the spinal column — in particular in the neck (cervical) area.


what are the symptoms of radiculopathy? 

Commonly those who have a compressed nerve in the neck area experience pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the arms.

what causes radiculopathy?

Typically, radiculopathy occurs when the tissues surrounding the nerve roots, like bones of the spinal vertebrae, change or shift in size. When this happens, they may narrow the spaces where the nerve roots are traveling inside the spine or exiting the spine. It can be caused by gradual degeneration of the spine or as a result of a spinal injury.

Cervical herniated discs (discs in your neck area) are also a common cause of radiculopathy. As a disc slips or shifts from place, or becomes damaged and presses on nerves it causes the symptoms.

Other causes include bone spurs (areas of extra bone growth) due to inflammation from trauma, osteoarthritis, or other degenerative conditions such as cervical spinal stenosis.

Some less common causes are spinal infections and cancerous or noncancerous growths in the spine that can press against the nerve roots.



Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Radiculopathy

There are several ways to handle the numbness in your arm caused by a pinched nerve in the neck. Here are some of the most common recommendations:

  • Rest or activity modification. Sometimes the tingling in the arm will go away after a period of rest that includes limited activities such as a sports, lifting heavy objects or sitting and standing in proper positions. 
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist may be able to help you relieve tightened muscles that could be constricting the vertebrae and causing the pinched nerve. 
  • Ice and/or heat. Applying an ice pack or a heated gel pack to the neck might offer pain relief for some people. For example, using an ice pack after an activity that causes pain or numbness in the arm can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Pain management with medication or injections. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen could likely be tried first.If they are not helping further investigation into the cause of the problem may be needed.

Surgical Treatment Options for Lumbar Radicuolopathy

If non-surgical treatment options aren't helping it may be time to see what can be done with minimally invasive surgery. It's important that you return to a regular level of activity and a surgery may be able to provide the relief you need. The videos below give an overview of the various procedures that are available if your neck pain specialist feels it may be appropriate.


If you’re feeling arm or hand numbness, weakness in the arms or hands, or radiating arm pain, the cause may actually be in your neck — without causing neck pain! If you are in the Greater Houston-area, contact Dr. Fayaz’s office in The Woodlands for an evaluation and stop suffering!

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Request an Appointment with our neck & Back pain specialists.