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Radicular pain of the neck, sholder or arms


A common cause of neck, shoulder and arm pain is a ruptured or herniated cervical disc. Symptoms may include dull or sharp pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain that radiates down the arm to the hand or fingers, or numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm. Certain positions or movements of the neck can intensify the pain. This pain is refered to as Radicular Pain or Cervical radiculopathy.


Cervical radiculopathy results from mechanical nerve root compression or intense inflammation (ie, chemical radiculitis). Specifically, nerve root compression may occur at the intervertebral foraminal entrance zone at the narrowest segment of the root sleeve anteriorly by disc protrusion and uncovertebral osteophytes and posteriorly by superior articulating process, ligamentum flavum, and periradicular fibrous tissue. Decreased disc height, as well as age-related foraminal width decrease from inferior z-joint hypertrophy, may impinge subsequently on nerve roots.

  • Depending on whether primarily motor or sensory involvement is present, radicular pain is deep, dull, and achy or sharp, burning, and electric.

    • Cervical radicular pain most commonly radiates to the Sholder blade (interscapular) region although pain can be referred to the shoulder, or arm as well.

    • Neck pain does not necessarily accompany radiculopathy and frequently is absent.

    • You also may have limb numbness and weakness in addition to pain.


Cervical radiculopathy results from nerve root compression secondary to herniated disc material, stenosis, or inflammation caused by chemicals released from the discs. Smoking and certain occupational activities also predispose patients to cervical radiculopathy

The symptoms of cervical radiculopathy are often severe enough to require disc removal and fusion surgery of the vertebra. The resulting elimination of the natural range of motion often resulted in further damage to adjacent discs. This cervical disc surgery is called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).


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Over the past 15 years a breakthrough treatment for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease has been developed in Europe known as Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) or Disc Arthroplasty. A disc prosthesis is implanted between the vertebra after removing the core of the damaged disc. Disc space is restored and range of motion is maintained limiting further damage. Cervical Disc Replacement surgery can also be used to eliminate damage in adjacent discs where previous spinal fusion exists.


Disc Replacement or Disc Arthroplasty, as compared to other orthopedic disciplines, is the next evolutionary step in spine surgery. Cervical Disc Replacement is now commercially available in Europe and many other countries. FDA trials are underway and should be concluded within the next few years, although many Americans have been going to Germany, to avoid Spinal Fusion and get their Artificial Disc Replacement surgery for years. 



Artificial Disc Replacement | Degenerative Disc Disease | Discectomy and Laminotomy | Discectomy with Fusion | Foraminal Stenosis | Cervical DDD

Internal Disc Disruption | Radicular pain of the neck |Treatment of Cervical Disc Disease | Jim's ADR story | SB Charite III | Lumbar DDD | Other Resourses

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