When the nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated at the point where it branches away from the spinal cord, cervical radiculopathy is the result. In most instances, this leads to severe pain that radiates into the shoulder and can cause muscle numbness and weakness that affects the arms and hands. Cervical radiculopathy is usually caused by wear and tear to the spine as people age.
Spinal stenosis, a condition that develops when the spinal canal narrows, can cause cervical radiculopathy. Poor posture, aging, repetitive motion, improper lifting techniques, hereditary degenerative bone conditions, and being overweight can also cause or exacerbate the condition. Among middle-aged individuals, degenerative changes in the discs can place pressure on the nerve roots. In younger people, cervical radiculopathy is generally due to discs ruptured through trauma.
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