Physiotherapy for Cervical Radiculopathy

Albury Physiotherapist for Cervical Radiculopathy | Enhance Physio Albury

Are you experiencing pain, numbness, or weakness in your neck, shoulder, or arm? You may suffer from cervical radiculopathy, which affects your cervical spine’s nerves. This condition can significantly impact your daily life, making it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks.

Cervical radiculopathy is a common condition that various factors including herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis, can cause. While medication and surgery are often recommended, physiotherapy can be an effective alternative or complementary treatment option.

Physiotherapy for cervical radiculopathy involves various techniques and exercises designed to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and prevent the condition from worsening. In this article, we will explore the benefits of physiotherapy for cervical radiculopathy and how it can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

What is cervical radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy develops when a nerve in the neck gets compressed or inflamed near its exit from the spinal cord.

The spinal nerve roots emerge from the spinal cord and divide, travelling to specific areas in the arm.

These spinal nerves transmit messages to our muscles for movement and sensations felt throughout the arm.

The spinal cord is comparable to a tree trunk, while the spinal nerves are similar to the tree branches.

If an impingement or atypical pressure is applied to a branch near the trunk, it will affect everything along that branch.

Common symptoms of cervical radiculopathy

  • Unilateral (one side) neck pain with sharp/burning pain radiating down the arm.
  • Numbness or pins and needles in the neck, shoulder and arm.
  • Symptoms are aggravated with particular neck movements, e.g. turning your head over your right shoulder, looking upwards etc.
  • A deficit in reflexes, sensation and muscle power in your arm, shoulder or hand.

Common causes of cervical radiculopathy

Spinal nerve impingement or irritation could be caused by the following:

  • Spondylosis leading to stenosis or bony growth in the cervical joints (common in older patients).
  • Age-related arthritis or disc degeneration.
  • Disc herniation leading to compression/inflammation of the nerve root (more common in younger patients).
  • Spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spaces where nerves pass through become narrow.
  • A benign or malignant tumour impinging on a nerve root.
Cervical Radiculopathy Physiotherapist Albury Clinic | Enhance Physio

Common risk factors for cervical radiculopathy

This injury often occurs gradually rather than due to a traumatic incident. Some contributing factors include:

  • Restricted cervical (neck) range of motion.
  • Restricted thoracic spine range of motion.
  • Reduced muscle strength and control through the neck, shoulder and back.

Physiotherapy assessment for cervical radiculopathy

Your physio will complete a thorough assessment to identify your diagnosis and potential problems causing the issue. Their assessment may include looking at the following:

  • Cervical spine (neck) range of motion.
  • Thoracic spine (mid-back) range of motion.
  • Neurological testing of your sensation, reflexes, and muscle power.
  • Grip strength.
  • Neurodynamic testing.
  • Manual hands-on assessment and palpation.

Physiotherapy treatment for cervical radiculopathy 

Your physiotherapist can use a variety of treatments to manage this issue. This may include hands-on techniques, such as joint mobilisation and soft tissue massage, to reduce pain and manage symptoms.

In numerous trials, manual treatment has been demonstrated to be more successful than doing nothing. 

The most effective cervical radiculopathy treatment approach is multimodal, incorporating many of the above manual therapy treatments, therapeutic exercises, and education.

Exercise prescription is also part of management to improve deficits in the cervical spine range of motion, thoracic spine range, scapula control and global neck & shoulder strength. Additionally, addressing other factors such as ergonomics, sleeping positions, and posture may be included to prevent the issue from recurring once your symptoms have settled.

Your physiotherapist may also discuss with you the use of pain management strategies, including the use of anti-inflammatories or other medication which your GP can prescribe.

A referral to a specialist may be recommended, depending on the severity of your signs and symptoms. Your physiotherapist can help you with these options and refer on as needed.

Is cervical radiculopathy serious?

When left undiagnosed and untreated, cervical radiculopathy can potentially cause severe neck pain that can spread throughout the chest, arms, upper back and neck. Over an extended period, the declining strength in limbs can lead to slow reflexes inducing more significant levels of poor coordination, directly affecting a patient’s daily life.

With symptoms becoming more apparent during nominal body movements or while lying down, awareness of this painful ailment is vital to ensure accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment by experienced medical professionals.

Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment | Enhance Physio

Final thoughts on physiotherapy for cervical radiculopathy

If you’re experiencing cervical radiculopathy, physiotherapy can be a game-changer.

With the right exercises and treatment plan, you can alleviate your pain, improve your mobility, and get back to doing what you love.

So don’t suffer in silence—reach out to a physiotherapist today and take the first step towards a pain-free life!

Book an appointment with one of our highly qualified physiotherapists at Enhance Physio before starting a rehabilitation program. We can advise you on the best course of action for your condition.



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