Cervical radiculopathy is a common issue people come to the chiropractor for. It is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve. Cervical radiculopathy can be recognized by neck pain radiating into the shoulder as well as muscle weakness and numbness flowing down the arm and into the side. It happens when nerve where it branches off the spinal cord is pinched or irritated.
Pinched nerve can occur due to two reasons-
Degeneration due to age
The spine disks naturally degenerates as a person ages. The discs lose water content, start drying out. This problem causes the disc spaces to collapse as the disc space is lost. The vertebrae move closer together as the discs lose height. The body forms more bone around the disc (bone spur) to strengthen the spine. These bone spurs contribute to the spine’s stiffness. They can also narrow the small openings on either side of the spinal column where the roots of the nerve exit and pinch the root of the nerve.
Degenerative disc changes are often referred to as arthritis or spondylosis. These changes are more common than you may think. Yes, nearly half of all middle-aged and older people have lost disks and suffered pinched nerves.
Herniated disc due to injury
Herniated disc occurs when discs jelly-like center pushes its outer ring against the disc walls. The nucleus can squeeze out in case of an injury or trauma. When the herniated disk booms towards the spinal canal, it puts pressure on the sensitive root of the nerve, causing pain and weakness in the area. A herniated disk may occur due to sudden movements while lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting.
How can a chiropractor help pinched nerve and neck pain?
Chiropractors may use spinal adjustments and other therapies. Additional therapies used by chiropractor can be heat/cold therapy, stretching, and exercise to help your body to heal and function normally. A neck adjustment (also known as cervical manipulation) is an accurate procedure that is usually applied by hand to the neck joints. A neck adjustment works to improve spine mobility and restore motion range; it can also increase adjacent muscle movement. Usually, patients experience an increased ability to turn and lift their head and decrease pressure, soreness, and stiffness.
What to expect when you go to a chiropractor?
Your chiropractor will evaluate the root of your suffering and ask you questions about your current symptoms or treatments that you may already have experienced.
Your chiropractor may ask questions such as-
When has the pain started?
Is the pain radiating and going elsewhere in the body?
Is there anything that eliminates and causes the suffering to worsen?
The chiropractor will conduct physical and neurological examinations. The doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition in the physical examination. He/she can determine pain-causing movement. Your chiropractor will feel your spine, notice its curvature and alignment, and feel muscle spasm. Chiropractor will check your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and disperse pressure during the neurological evaluation.
Your chiropractor may order tests to help diagnose your condition in some instances. A subsequent treatment plan and chiropractic visit will be determined after the evaluation.