You just came out of your doctorâ€™s clinic with a diagnosis of a pinched neck nerve. The pain has been bothering you for quite a while and it was starting to debilitate you. Pinched neck nerves are brought about by a degenerative disease of the vertebral disc or neck arthritis. These conditions decrease the height of the disc and form bone spurs. A herniated vertebral disc can put pressure on a nerve that irritates the nerve, resulting to inflammation and pain. You could also acquire pinched neck nerves through a cervical spine injury.
It is common for a person to experience pinched neck nerves in their 40s or 50s. Some of the symptoms are tingling, pain, muscle weakness, or numbness in the cervical pathways of the nerves. The pain often worsens with bowel movement, sneezing, or coughing. These sensations start from the neck and radiated to the shoulders, down to the arms, and then to the fingers. Treatment for pinched neck nerves differ depending on the severity of the case. You can undergo physical therapy, manipulation, medical intervention, and even surgery. Read on and find out more about pinched neck nerves:
1. Cervico-brachial syndrome
When you have neck pain that radiates to your arms, you may have cervico-brachial syndrome. Some of the symptoms are slow and sharp pain. The findings of pinched neck nerves are high when the patient bends the head to the affected side and low when the affected arm is positioned above the head. Neck traction could be used to reduce the dorsal root ganglion or nerve root irritation.
2. Pain in neck and scapula
Pain in the neck and scapular areas is the common complaint when the patient had pinched neck nerves. Other symptoms are numbness, weakness, and pain in the fingers or arms, which is usually delayed. Because of this radiation of pain, it is usually assumed that the discomfort is brought about by muscle pain.
3. Nerve roots
C6 nerve root and C7 nerve root are the common sites of pain in pinched neck nerves. Less common sites are C2 to C4 nerve roots. When C2 is affected, there is posterior occipital headache and temporal pain; C3 (pain at the back of the head, pain behind the eyes,and pain behind the ears); C4 (pain in the forearm thumb side, pain in index finger and thumb); C7 (pain in the middle finger); C8 (pain in the little and ring fingers); and T1 (pain in the side of the little finger).
4. Tests for symptom alleviation
There are several tests that can be conducted that aim to alleviate or relieve the pain of pinched neck nerves. Spurlingâ€™s test is done while you are seated. The healthcare provider bends your head to the affected side and then puts pressure downwards from the top of your head. There are times when the head is bent on the side while rotating and extending to the affected side as downward pressure is given. The shoulder abduction test is also done while you are seated. Here, you place your hand on the affected side, on top of your head. The neck distraction test is done while you lie on your back. The healthcare provider holds the back of the head and the chin and pulls these areas away from the patient. The upper limb tension test is again done on your back. The healthcare provider involves your hand in various movements that involve the affected side of the neck. This aims to make the nerve tense to bring out the symptoms. The results are recorded for each test. Then additional diagnostic exams like X-ray, CT myelography, nerve conduction studies, needle electromyography, and MRI are performed.
5. Possible treatments
There are various treatments that can be done for patients who suffer from pinched neck nerves. The neck could be immobilized with the use of a neck brace or a cervical collar. This aims to relieve the muscle spasms and inflammation that surrounds theÂ nerve root. Traction devices can also be used to separate the vertebral bones so that the pinched nerves can be relieved. Exercising the neck accompanied by heat therapy and a therapeutic neck pillow could be doneto help as well. Medications such as NSAIDs, spinal steroid injections, nerve root blocks, and corticosteroids could be taken to relive the pain and inflammation of the affected area.
If you think you have pinched neck nerves, you should seek medical attentionÂ to make sure that you get the right remedies and treatments. Do not attempt to manipulate your neck by yourself so that certain anatomical parts will be kept from further damage.