This condition is an irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the cervical spine. Because these nerves travel to the shoulders, arms and hands, an injury in the cervical spine can cause symptoms in these areas. Cervical radiculopathy may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the cervical spinal column.
Nerve roots in the cervical spine (neck) travel to the shoulders, arm, hands, and fingers. A neck injury can compress or irritate a cervical nerve root, creating symptoms in the areas where that nerve travels.
There are three primary causes of cervical radiculopathy. A herniated disc can press against a nerve when the disc’s outer wall (fibrosis) ruptures and some of its contents extend beyond the disc’s natural border. A degenerated disc loses its fluid content and height, causing the vertebra above and below it to come closer together and crowd the nerve root space. Also, spinal stenosis can cause pressure against the spinal cord or nerves because vertebra have shifted out of natural position .
Cervical Radiculopathy typically causes pain, weakness, numbness and/or tingling. The intensity of the symptoms depends on how severely the nerve root is being compressed or irritated, while the location of the symptoms depends on what nerve root is being compressed. For example, nerve root compression at the fifth cervical vertebra (C5) may cause symptoms in the front shoulder and the front of the upper arm, whereas C6 nerve root compression may cause symptoms down the side of the arms and into the hands and fingers.