Cervical radiculopathy includes any process that causes irritation, compression or dysfunction of one or more of the cervical (neck) nerve roots. Irritation of the nerves that emit from the neck can occur from loss of joint mobility of one or more segments of the spine. Irritation and/or entrapment can be caused even further from the actual cervical joints and the muscles that move the neck, shoulder or arm. The spinal nerves must pass through these tight, contracted muscles to deliver nervous impulses supplying the arms and hands.
Common causes of arm numbness include degeneration of the joints of the spine and shoulder, contracture of the scalenes, pec minor, subscapularis, and arterial compression.
Disc protrusions and herniations of the neck, although much less common than joint dysfunction (loss of mobility) and soft tissue spasm/adhesions, do occur, but present differently. Special imaging, i.e., an MRI, may be required for patients where disc pathology is suspect. Chiropractic care to stiff, immobile joints, along with advanced muscular therapy (A.R.T.) can resolve these complaints.