The symptoms from cervical radiculopathy are from pressure on an irritated nerve, which can result from a car accident or work injury. These symptoms are not the same as those that come from mechanical neck pain. Mechanical neck pain usually starts in the neck and may spread to include the upper back or shoulder.
The pain from cervical radiculopathy usually spreads further down the arm than mechanical neck pain. And unlike mechanical pain, radiculopathy also usually involves other changes in how the nerves work such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the muscles of the shoulder, arm, or hand. With cervical radiculopathy, the reflexes in the muscles of the upper arm are usually affected.
Doctors gather the information about symptoms as a way to determine diagnosis. Diagnosis begins with a complete history of the problem. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and how your problem is affecting your daily activities. Your answers can help your doctor determine which nerve is causing problems.
Next, the doctor examines you to see which neck movements cause pain or other symptoms. Your skin sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes are tested in order to tell where the nerve problem is coming from.
X-rays of the cervical spine can show the cause of pressure on the nerve. The images show whether degeneration has caused the space between the vertebrae to collapse. They may also show if a bone spur is pressing against a nerve.
If more information is needed, your doctor may order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI machine uses magnetic waves rather than X-rays to show the soft tissues of the body. This test gives a clear picture of the discs, nerves, and other soft tissues in the neck. The machine creates pictures that look like slices of the area your doctor is interested in.
Sometimes it isn’t clear where the nerve pressure is coming from. Symptoms of numbness or weakness can also happen when the nerve is being pinched or injured at other points along its path. An example of this is pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
If your doctor orders electrical studies, several tests are available to see how well the nerves are functioning, including the electromyography (EMG) test. This test measures how long it takes a muscle to work once a nerve signals it to move. The time it takes will be slower if nerve pressure from radiculopathy has affected the strength of the muscle.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin attorneys at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] have experience with workers compensation cervical radiculopathy cases from car accidents, job duties over time and work accidents.