Cervical radiculopathy due to degenerative bone changes

Patient

Q: I just recently been told that I have a pinched nerve in my neck, so my question is if I have had this for 16 years with out even know what kind of damage has it done already. my doctor says it has been like this for awhile cause there is already calcium and muscle growing around it.

Doctor

A:    Yes, usually in your age group the cervical radiculopathy (cervical nerve compression) is often a result of spinal canal narrowing from bone (osteophyte, bone spur) formation, decreased disc height and degenerative changes due to aging process. The treatment strategy usually includes: physical therapy program aimed to reduce pain and inflammation, and the use of anti-inflammatory medication (“Motrin”, “Aleve”), also a re-education of your habits and posture to improve quality of life. You should be independent in a stretching and strengthening program and continue with these exercises under the periodic supervision of a physical therapist initially and then completely on your own. Patients whose condition fails to improve with a comprehensive rehabilitation program and selective injections should be presented with a surgical evaluation. Often, patients should show progressive improvement over the first 6-8 weeks with conservative treatment. If there is no significant improvement in this time frame, consider a surgical evaluation.

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