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Radiculopathy FAQ

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022

1. I had an EMG test, and I want to know what radiculopathy with denervation is?

My neurologist ordered an EMG and when the results came back, I was diagnosed with radiculopathy with denervation. Can you tell what this diagnosis means? I have been told there is nothing I can do for radiculopathy with denervation other than taking muscle relaxants, pain pills and do physical therapy.

A: Radiculopathy means that there is impaired nerve function. The word “denervation” is typically used in cases of neuromuscular diseases like polio or after a traumatic accident when the nerve has lost the ability to work. Denervation is also a type of surgical procedure used to relieve some types of pain.

2. Are there physical activities one should avoid doing when diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy?

I have been diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy but my doctor didn’t tell me if there are any activities I should avoid. At my job, I have to lift heavy boxes up over my head. If I have a herniated disc in my cervical spine I shouldn’t do this, should I?

A: If you have been diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy, heavy lifting over your head should be avoided. Does your physician know what your job involves? Good communication with your physician is very important so you can get adequate treatment for you cervical radiculopathy.

3. Could I have cervical radiculopathy due to herniated discs and not experience pain in my neck?

I have been told I have carpal tunnel syndrome and a torn rotor cuff. My symptoms have recently gotten much worse to the point my index finger is burning like fire. I have tried physical therapy and it only made things worse. My doctor has told me to try acupuncture or a chiropractor. Could this be cervical radiculopathy? My rotator cuff and carpal tunnel have never been this bad before.

A: Most of the time cervical radiculopathy causes neck pain. Because of the pressure on the nerve, pain is most often a result and muscle spasms in the neck are typically also a symptom. Since you haven’t mentioned these symptoms, your condition does not sound like the problem is in your neck. There really isn’t enough information given to tell for sure the reason for your pain, but it is suggestive of nerve damage that may be severe. You may want to see a neurologist. A neurologist can do tests to find the source of your pain, be it cervical radiculopathy or maybe a torn nerve that occurred when you injured your shoulder.

4. Does severe spinal stenosis in C5 with a bulging disk and cervical radiculopathy in arms go away, and what is the treatment?

Also, how common is this and is it serious?

A: A condition that is severe does not typically resolve on its own. This cervical radiculopathy could eventually result in your arms becoming very weak, or even useless. Surgical techniques have improved greatly over the past several years and there are many options to treat this condition. Disc replacement surgery is even an option for cervical radiculopathy caused by a herniated disc. The stenosis can even be corrected by surgery.

5. What are the symptoms of cervical radiculopathy?

A: Cervical radiculopathy typically causes pain and symptoms that are felt along the pathway of the nerve, in the shoulder, along with the arm or in the hand. The symptoms can include weakness, numbness, and pain. Sometimes the reflexes can also be affected. Your physician can usually tell which nerve is affected by cervical radiculopathy by where the symptoms are located. Headaches in the back of the head, called occipital headaches are also common with cervical radiculopathy, as well as neck pain and stiffness.

6. What is C5/C6 Prolapse with canal stenosis and bilateral radiculopathy?

A: Cervical spinal (canal) stenosis means there is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck area and this is putting pressure on the nerve roots. Cervical radiculopathy typically causes pain and neurological deficits depending on cord level of the affected root. You may have a loss of sensation along the outside of your upper and lower arms and weak arm muscles.

A cervical prolapse is a herniated or slipped disc which is a condition in which a portion or all of the soft middle of an intervertebral disc comes out through the weakened rim of the disc. This can result in neck and arm pain due to irritation of the nerve root. Cervical radiculopathy can cause severe neck pain and muscle spasms, and pain that radiates down the arms and into the upper back. It can also cause numbness in the fingers.

7. Is cervical radiculopathy permanent?

I have cervical radiculopathy and I’m wondering if this pain will last all my life, or will it go away permanently if treated?

A: If treated, the pain of cervical radiculopathy may go away. This depends on how severe the cervical radiculopathy is, what caused it and if, in the future, the condition progresses.

8. What causes chronic radiculopathy?

A: Trauma, such as occurs in a motor vehicle accident is one reason for chronic cervical radiculopathy.

9. What is the meaning of cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy?

A: This means that there are changes in the spinal column in the neck area due to arthritis or wear and tear damage. This can cause radiculopathy, which is irritation of the nerve where it exits the spinal column. Radiculopathy can cause pain and numbness or tingling that radiates into the shoulder and back or down the arm into the hand and fingers.

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