Cervical radiculopathy is a medical condition in which the cervical nerve of our body is inflamed or pinched from its point of exit in the spine, called neuroforamen. In this condition the patient, who is suffering from cervical radiculopathy, experiences acute pain in the neck.
Though the pain can be treated and subsides in most cases, sometimes it can be persistent too. The patient can experience this persistent pain not only in the neck, but also in the arms or shoulder.
Pain, weakness and/or numbness are all common symptoms which are associated with cervical radiculopathy. Cervical disc herniation, cervical spondylosis etc. are some conditions which are commonly experienced by patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy. The treatment for cervical radiculopathy can include operative and non-operative options. Some non-operative treatment options are as follows:
1. Rest and Collar Immobilization
When you are diagnosed with a condition like cervical radiculopathy, it is advisable that you abstain from rigorous physical activities that might include lifting heavy objects. When the patient goes through the period of acute pain, it is advisable that he/she takes rest and uses a cervical collar. The cervical collar provides support and comfort and also helps the patient limit the motion of the neck.
In a condition such as cervical radiculopathy, when the patient experiences acute pain, the physician can and does prescribe certain medicines which can ease the pain and provide comfort. Some of these medicines are also anti-inflammatory in nature, which means that, the inflamed cervical nerves can be soothed. Some physicians can prescribe a course of corticosteroid medication and non-steroidal medicines for anti-inflammation.
3. Physical Therapy
As a non-operative option of treatment for cervical radiculopathy, physical therapy can also be beneficial. When consulting a physical therapist, he/she can prescribe traction as one of the proven and effective means of physical therapy, used to treat cervical radiculopathy. In case, the patient finds traction beneficial, which relieves the pain for him/her, he/she can buy a traction set or unit and use it at home. After the pain subsides, the patient can also take up strengthening and motion exercises, particularly for the neck and the shoulders and arms where the pain was most profound.
Along with the aforementioned non-operative treatment options discussed here, a patient suffering from cervical radiculopathy can also look at other operative options (surgery) and a treatment known as epidural steroid injection.
photo credit: (www.hertfordshirepainconsultants.co.uk)