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Radiculopathy of the cervical spine: symptoms, treatment

Radiculopathy of the cervical spine are the result of degenerative changes. In high risk people with a sedentary lifestyle. When compression of the vertebrae, they wear out and protrude. Sooner or later it will begin to narrow the spinal canal, which would entail the compression of blood vessels and nerve endings.

The man is very good feels the presence of cervical radiculopathy. Markedly reduced mobility of the head, often have headaches and neck pain.

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The essence of pathology

A disease such as cervical radiculopathy, is a neurological. In pathological changes in the structure of the spine, whether osteochondrosis and its complications in the form of protrusions and hernias of intervertebral or destruction of vertebral bodies with osteoporosis is compression of the nerve roots. There is severe pain. When the intervertebral segment sticks out and is pinched nerve, there is a piercing pain. The feeling is not allow to turn the head and even walking is difficult. But in addition to the pain also inflammation and muscle spasm. All this greatly aggravates the disease.

Pain syndrome increases its duration and significantly increases with the movements.

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Types of radiculopathy

Radiculopathy in the cervical spine already is a kind of sciatica, localized in the upper part of the spine. This localization is very dangerous, because this area has many blood vessels and nerve endings. Muscle spasms disrupt blood circulation and affect motor skills. But there is also another classification of sciatica dependent on the places of greatest inflammation.

Discogenic

This type of pathology represents an infringement of nerve endings as a result of protrusion of the intervertebral segments. Discogenic sciatica is called primary, as it is already in violation in the structure of the disk occur a painful backache in the neck.

The most commonly diagnose exactly the type of discogenic pathology. Early treatment will pass quite quickly and people will soon return to everyday life.

Vertebral

This is called sciatica secondary. The fact is that the primary manifestation of the defeat and the protrusion of cartilage, followed by pressure on the blood vessels and starts swelling. It is the spasm and inflammation produces compression of the nerve roots. Because edema is secondary manifestation with degenerative changes, then the name is appropriate.

Mixed

Mixed type cervical radiculopathy represents the pressure on the nerve endings because of bulging discs and narrowing of the spinal canal edema. In this situation the treatment will be quite difficult and long, as in vertebrogenic radiculitis. Pain may radiate into the hands and fingers.

Reasons

Cervical radiculitis can occur for a lot of reasons. Sometimes finding the factors that caused the pinched nerve endings, takes quite a long period of time. For convenience, you can combine the cause, the solution to which will be taken similar measures:

  • Osteochondrosis and its complications in the form of a protrusion, intervertebral hernia. This pathology contributes to the development of primary radiculopathy. Protrusion of the intervertebral discs compress nerve endings.
  • Injuries to the spinal column. Often, in severe injuries of this kind there is a rupture of the fibrous ring and cartilage tissue compresses the nerve endings. The pain is sudden, shooting.
  • Inflammatory processes associated with infectious diseases. Edema decreases the lumen of the spinal canal thatcontributes to compression of the nerve roots.
  • Hypothermia of the back. In the result there is swelling, a little bit of a different kind that is pinching nerve endings.
  • The formation of bony growths. Osteophytes are formed in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis, spondylosis, injuries, etc.

It can be concluded that the radiculopathy in the cervical spine occurs in three global causes: the protrusion structures of the intervertebral segments, squeezing the nerve endings of the bone growths, inflammatory processes.

And if we talk about the root causes of a cervical radiculopathy, which lead to all the previously described pathologies, here are the main:

  • A sedentary lifestyle without the need of preventive measures (charging, sports exercises);
  • The aging of the body, including the spine;
  • Slouch causing thoracic Hyper-kyphosis and increases pressure on the cervical intervertebral discs;
  • Scoliosis (curvature in the lateral plane);
  • Lifting of heavy objects (loaders, lifters, etc.).

The spine wears out and the problem starts causing pain. If you do not take timely treatment, acute symptoms of pain syndrome transformed into chronic.

Symptoms

Sciatica is a consequence of other diseases, and not an independent pathological process. In this disease there occurs the compression of the nerve endings, which, of course, accompanied by pain syndrome. But the pain is not all, there are many other unpleasant symptoms. If you focus on pain manifestations, they will differ dependent on the affected nerve. As cervical herniated disc, sciatica has a more prominent manifestations of the localization compression of one or another nerve root.

Usually the nerves that pass closer to the back of his head from 3 to 1 vertebrae, rarely subjected to pressure, it is caused by anatomical structure and level of flexibility of the upper part of the neck.

If you go from the bottom up, the first pair of nerve roots that are being pinched are the roots between the last thoracic vertebra and the seventh cervical vertebra. The pain will spread to elbow joints, lower arm (inner side) and go in the little finger and ring. Brush faint, numb.

Very common is pinched between the rootlets of the seventh and sixth vertebrae of the neck. Pain syndrome occurs in the shoulder joint area, extending on the back surface, the hitting index finger. The brush becomes difficult to bend, sometimes numbness.

With the defeat of the sixth cervical nerve between the fifth vertebrae neck pain localized in the shoulders and triceps, giving your thumbs. Reduced sensitivity, straighten your hands becomes difficult.

Sciatica in this localization is quite rare. The nerve endings between the fifth and fourth vertebrae are rarely infringed, if all this happens, the pain affects the shoulder joint from different angles. Partially giving in the region below the shoulders, reaching up to brush and without touching the fingers. As for the General manifestations, then, in addition to pain, there are the following:

  • Migraines and dizziness;
  • Nausea with retching;
  • Sometimes the temperature rises;
  • General weakness, depressed state;
  • Sleep disorders.

Diagnosis

When the pain in the neck the first thing people turn to the district physician. After the individual exam, the doctor appoints to give some tests. Further there is a referral to a neurologist. Narrow-profile specialist makes his examination and interviewing the patient. If the patient notices the peculiarities of manifestations of pain, the localization and character, this greatly simplifies the formulation of correct diagnosis. It is therefore important to analyze his condition before going to the doctor.

For a complete diagnosis requires an accurate survey, including:

  • An x-ray. After this procedure, it is impossible to accurately judge the cause of the sciatica but you can eliminate some diseases – metastases and osteoporosis.
  • CT. A very effective method of diagnosis, it often happens that such a survey is sufficient. The price is impressive and the method is contraindicated in pregnant women.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging. This diagnostics method is most effective, provides accurate information about the disease. The only contraindication – in the presence of the human body metallic implants, as the magnet affects them. The method is harmless, but expensive.
  • A blood test is an additional method. You can learn about the presence of inflammation.
  • Study usingelectric current. Helps to know what muscles are not reduced.

Treatment

In the treatment of lesions of the intervertebral cervical disc with radiculopathy only required an integrated approach. Based on accurate diagnosis of the attending physician prescribes a course of treatment. Conservative methods work in almost all cases of neglect, very rarely have to use surgery. However, if the cause of radicular syndrome are metastasis (cancer tumors), the surgical intervention not to avoid. Treatment is aimed at eliminating the causes of pain and eliminating the pain.

If the causes of sciatica are destruction of cartilage tissue and a bulging disc, the treatment will be similar to that prescribed for low back pain. It is important to reduce the pressure on the nerve endings.

Drug

The doctor prescribes a course of drugs needed to fight the disease. In any case it is impossible to self-medicate. Though a course of medicines is individual but there is a kind of an example set of drugs:

  • Chondroprotectors. Provide partial regeneration of cartilage tissue, restore the structure of the intervertebral discs. The protrusion is reduced.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Very important medication, help eliminate inflammation, reduce pain.
  • Painkillers. Needed for relief of pain syndrome and normalization of quality of life.
  • Antidepressants. Used to eliminate severe pain, when it is necessary to normalize the state of the nervous system.
  • Vitamins. Required for strengthening bone and cartilage tissue, increasing the regenerative abilities of the body.
  • The muscle relaxants. Relieve swelling and spasms and relax the muscles. As an additional effect – reduce the pain.
  • Distracting ointment. Help to reduce pain.

In the case of vertebrogenic radiculitis or if the cause of is an inflammation of the spinal column, the emphasis is on anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. The treatment includes massages, exercises and various treatments at the hospital. Such treatment is an integral part of successful recovery, it is impossible to ignore it. In addition, the course includes wearing a special collar that reduces the load on the intervertebral discs and the pressure on the nerves.

Massage

Massage treatments in the cervical spine is a very important procedure. It is very important to find highly qualified specialist. With proper technique the muscle spasms gone, swelling reduced and the pain too. But also in the cervical spine are many nerves and arteries, incorrect movements or too strong can lead to pinched nerve roots. The result is severe pain, which only aggravates the spasm, there may be a constriction of blood vessels and oxygen starvation.

Gymnastics

Exercise is one of the key measures in the defeat of the cervical. The strengthening of the muscle corset helps to reduce tension and pain.

Any exercises should be performed technically correct, with no sudden movements and only in the presence of a competent coach, it will help to reduce pressure on nerve endings. Exercise will significantly speed up the recovery and will be a great prevention to recurrences of sciatica.

Physiotherapy

Very effective in cervical radiculopathy there are various treatments that offer inpatient form of treatment. This includes:

  • Acupuncture. Help relieve numbness of the limbs, to reduce spasms and pain.
  • Magnetic effect on the lesion. Helps to relieve pain.
  • Novocaine electrophoresis. Excellent pain reliever.

Food

The change in diet enriched with vitamins will significantly speed up the recovery. It is important to include in the diet foods with high protein and reduce your consumption of salty foods.

If to relieve the digestive system, the body will have more strength to fight against disease and pain.

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Operation

Surgery is used very rarely. The indications for surgery are some of the factors:

  • I used conservative treatment and the result is not achieved;
  • When the diagnosis was seen a nodule;
  • In addition to nerve endings is compression of the spinal cord.

Used such types of operations:

  • Laminectomy. Rarely used, this involves a high level of injuries. The removal of cartilage and part of the vertebral body.
  • A discectomy. Does the removal of damaged disc orpart.
  • Microdiscectomy. The most gentle and less traumatic method of surgery. Is used most often. Such intervention is very effective and favored by most surgeons.

Complications

Improper treatment or very late can occur a number of complications. The first symptoms are nausea, do not stop after vomiting. We can numb limbs, muscle gradually atrophy. The most advanced stage of radiculopathy lead to complete disability. Such cases are very rare, but why take the chance. Because, among other things, any complication that leads to severe pain, which only progressed.

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Prevention

An excellent way of preventing radiculopathy is the sedentary way of life with exercise. Importantly, the right equipment and the lack of sudden movements. To eliminate sciatica in the initial stages is possible by means of physical fitness, by strengthening the muscular corset and to reduce the load on the spine. Do not have to wait for the doctor's diagnosis, it is better to prevent disease by taking up sports in your life.