For many people, cervical radiculopathy is just a fancy name for a bad back. In reality, it is a medical term, but it means that the patient has had a herniated or slipped disk, not just a bad back. There’s a huge difference between the two.
Knowing how to deal with a herniated disk is not all that difficult, when you know what you are dealing with exactly. However, if you don’t pay attention to your back, and your body in general, things can get out of hand, and bigger problems can occur.
Have you ever noticed that you can’t lift a leg or an arm correctly? Or perhaps you just can’t squeeze that pair of nail clippers as tightly as normal, but you don’t know why.
Occasionally people will wake up, climb out of bed, and just not be able to feel parts of their body—usually on one side. Maybe the area is totally numb, or it’s just got a pins and needles feeling. Those sensations are brought on by the radiculopathy that occurs when a disk slips out of place in your spine, and puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal column.
When you have a disk—also called vertebrae—slip out of its correct place in your spinal column, it causes problems for all of the other disks as well. Because it is not in at the correct angle, there is pressure put onto the disk at a rate which is harmful for the disk, the disks surrounding it, and potentially the entire spinal column.
Additionally, another problem that occurs when cervical radiculopathy occurs is that sometimes the actual movement of the affected body part may seriously hurt. In other words, the slipped disk has seriously pinched a nerve, making movement extremely painful.
To better illustrate what a bad slipped disk may feel like, think of how you may feel after you’ve taken a bad fall down several icy stairs. The jarring sensation that occurs when you go “bump, bump, bump” down those stairs affects the disks in your back—and the pain when you get up and attempt to walk can be incredible.
If the slipped disk does not occur so dramatically as a fall down icy stairs, and just happens over time—perhaps due to being overweight, or even a genetic pre-disposition—then it may be more easily manageable. When that is the case, taking the time to use bed rest and simple, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications will work.
However, when the cervical radiculopathy is caused by a serious injury, then sometimes other types of intervention are required. There are different types that can be used, depending on the doctor’s preferences.
Some doctors will prefer massage to attempt to ease the pain; others will look at serious medications to help. Yet other doctors will look at portable pain units or even surgery of different types to help manage the pain. The pain management will completely depend on the patient, and how well they can tolerate it.
Written By: Updated: June 27,2011