Nerves in neck pinched
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Irritation or pinching of a nerve in the neck can cause pain radiating into the shoulder, arm or hand.
Nerves are extensions of brain tissue. A nerve cell in the brain or in the spinal cord is called a central nerve. A nerve that is outside the brain or spinal cord is called a peripheral nerve. Peripheral nerves are bundles of millions of nerve fibers that leave the spinal cord.
Disk herniation and arthritic spurs in the neck are the most common causes of cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve). Injuries to the neck can also cause this disorder.
Pain in the neck that radiates to the shoulder, arm or hand is a common symptom in cervical radiculopathy. When a nerve is pinched in the neck, pain radiates down the arm. Weakness of the muscles of the arm may also be present. Muscle spasm in the neck and shoulder commonly accompanies pinched nerves and can be quite painful.
A pinched nerve may be treated with rest, medication, physical therapy, cortisone injection or surgery. Developing proper posture, strength, flexibility and balance in the neck and shoulder may help some forms of cervical radiculopathy.
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