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Radiculopathy: Beyond a Pain In the Neck

Did you wake up with a stiff, sore neck? It may hurt whenever you try to move it. You’re looking for relief — fast. It’s hard to accomplish your normal daily routine without moving your head. You likely have cervical radiculopathy, or as it’s more commonly known, a pinched nerve

Daniel Loder, MD is a double-board certified pain management anaesthesiologist who specializes in interventional pain management. He treats cervical radiculopathy routinely and can help you recover safely. 

What causes cervical radiculopathy? 

If you have cervical radiculopathy, a nerve in your neck has been squeezed and irritated. The pain may radiate from your neck down into your shoulder and arm. You may also experience numbness or weakness

Wear-and-tear on your spinal cord, or arthritis, is a common culprit that leads to cervical radiculopathy, especially as you get older. You have spinal discs between each vertebra in your neck and back. They serve to cushion your bones so that they don’t rub together. 

Aging causes changes in the discs; they lose moisture and dry out. They can bulge and crack. As the discs collapse, your bones get closer together. Your body produces more bone to try to help support the disc and the space between the bones. The extra bone becomes bone spurs;  they narrow the openings on the sides of your vertebrae where the nerves exit. When they narrow too much, you develop a pinched nerve.  

When you’re young, the problem may result from a herniated disc caused by an accident or sports trauma. The material in the ruptured disc irritates the nerve root in your spinal cord, causing your symptoms. 

Cervical radiculopathy can stop you in your tracks. It’s beyond a pain in the neck. Your life is interrupted. 

Treatments for cervical radiculopathy

Dr. Loder has treated many cases of cervical radiculopathy. Of course, resting and avoiding vigorous activity is important, and physical therapy can help. However, when you’re in extreme pain, you need help. Dr. Loder examines you, performs tests, reviews your medical history and your treatments, and decides which of several treatments would benefit you

Facet joint injections

You have two facet joints on each vertebra in your neck. They enable movement, but also provide stability. 

The joints, as the other joints in your body, are lined with cartilage. When it breaks down, you may have bones rubbing against each other in your neck. You may experience pain not only in your neck, but also your upper back and shoulders. It can even give you a headache. Dr. Loder can administer a facet joint injection containing a steroid that reduces the inflammation. 

Cervical epidural steroid injections

Dr. Loder may decide that you could benefit by a cervical epidural steroid injection. The epidural canal is located beside your spine. He injects the steroid near the painful nerve. 

Radiofrequency ablation

You may benefit from radiofrequency ablation, which destroys the integrity of the nerve so that it can no longer send pain messages to your brain. Dr. Loder would first perform a nerve block to ascertain which nerve is the problem. 

Radiofrequency energy creates an electrical current with pulses of energy that damage the nerve tissue so that it no longer can send pain messages. This approach gives you months of pain relief. 

Call the office of Daniel Loder MD, or book online at one of our three convenient offices for expert treatment of pain relief and pain management. 

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