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.
Common causes include a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis:
- Herniated disc is a rupture in the fibrous outer wall of a vertebral disc and allows the soft nucleus of the disc to bulge outward. This bulge can press harmfully against a nerve root.
- Degenerative disc disease occurs when a spinal disc weakens, allowing vertebral bones above and below the disc to shift out of position. The bones can touch, pinching nearby nerve roots.
- Spinal stenosis is when bones, discs or joints of the spine degenerate, resulting in bony spurs to form and push into the spinal canal or foramen space. The spurs create harmful pressure against the spinal cord or nerve roots.