Cervical radiculopathy is a condition resulting in radiating neck pain into the shoulder and arm. This condition is caused by compression of a nerve root, resulting in pain, tingling, numbness or burning into the affected upper limb. The 6th and 7th cervical nerve roots are the most commonly involved, but other nerve roots can be involved as well.
Common findings associated with this condition include degenerative disc disease, cervical disc bulging and cervical spinal stenosis. In some individuals, motor function in the affected limb can be present resulting in difficulty gripping or lifting objects.
Physical therapy for cervical radiculopathy, cervical spinal stenosis or cervical disc bulging includes identification of movement dysfunctions and creation of a plan of care to address the individual’s function and personal goals. This often includes increasing strength in deep neck musculature, improving flexibility of the thoracic spine and neck musculature, and patient education on biomechanics and posture. Commonly, a “movement preference” can be identified and used as a treatment tool to reduce and eliminate radiating symptoms into the extremity.