Cervical Radiculopathy from a Herniated Cervical Disc

Cervical Radiculopathy from a Herniated Cervical Disc

disc herniation
Fig. 1: Sagittal view of the cervical spine
(larger view)

disc herniation
Fig. 2: Disc herniation of the cervical spine
(larger view)

Developing a cervical herniated disc is less common than a lumbar herniated disc for two reasons:

  1. There is far less disc material in the cervical spine
  2. There is substantially less force across the cervical spine
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When they do occur, most cervical disc herniations (commonly referred to as cervical radiculopathy) will extrude out to the side of the spinal canal and impinge on the exiting nerve root at the lower level (e.g. C6 at C5-C6) (Figure 1 and Figure 2).

In This Article:

If the space for the nerve root (foramen) is already compromised because of associated disc space collapse or bone spurs (osteophytes), the added impingement of the disc may irritate the nerve root and cause a radiculopathy (arm pain). If the foramen is not compromised, the radiculopathy may be temporary and relieved with nonsurgical treatment.

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