Neck pain affects almost all of us at one point or another. Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD, top rated Physical Medicine professional in New York City, has seen cases of neck pain everyday throughout his years of experience. He is known as one of the best and most highly accomplished physicians in diagnosingcervical radiculopathy with EMG testing and treating cervical pain with conservative methods. Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD, offers the most innovative methods in physical therapy, injection therapy, and sports rehabilitation to correct and manage pain caused by cervical radiculopathy.The staff at NY Bone and Joint will expertly handle all insurance claims on your behalf and are happy to book and remind you of any necessary appointments. We provide not only the best spine care in New York City, but a pleasant and top rated atmosphere at our Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, Englewood, NJ and Hoboken, NJ offices. Friends and family are often sent to us by patients who have experienced our dedication to their healing and wellbeing.
At New York Bone and Joint we take your neck pain very seriously. Our highly qualified, trained physicians are able to evaluate, diagnosis, and formulate a highly specialized treatment plan for a variety of neck pain pathologies. One of the most commonly encountered conditions is cervical radiculopathy. Also known as a “pinched nerve”, this disorder can cause a patient a great deal of pain and discomfort.
To understand this disorder it is important to break it down into its most basic terminology. The word cervical refers to the area where the spinal nerve roots are affected; in this case its location is in the cervical area of the neck. A radiculopathy is when irritation or pressure causes a specific group of nerves to elicit numbness, muscle and neck and arm pain.
CAUSES OF CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY
There are several conditions that can cause a cervical radiculopathy. That is why it is of the utmost importance to have a specialized clinician evaluate the condition carefully.
- Cervical Herniated Disc: A herniated disc is a condition that affects the spine in which the integrity of the intervertebral disc is compromised and the central portion of the disc is pushed outward impinging the surrounding spinal nerves.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Is a localized wear and tear on the intervertebral discs causing the discs to lose their ability to shock absorb and thus put added compression and pressure on the localized spinal nerves.
- Spinal Stenosis: Is a consequence of spinal arthritis in which the spinal canal is damaged and over time becomes narrower, causing great strain on the spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis is often a result of the aging process or secondary sequela of a previous traumatic event.
Cervical radiculopathy symptoms are often confined to a generalized anatomic area. The most notably effected areas include the neck, shoulders, arms, wrist and even hands. When a radiculopathy is present these areas will experience pain, paresthesias (numbness) and isolated muscle weakness. If the condition is left untreated and allowed to progress, patients may develop myelopathy and cervical cord compression. This may result in potentially irreversible weakness.
Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD will use a host of modalities in order to diagnosis your cervical radiculopathy. A thorough physical exam is the keystone to your work-up. Your doctor will also obtain a comprehensive medical history and look for any risk factors that might hinder your care. Imaging modalities will also be necessary for the diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy and often include:
- Spinal X-ray – to evaluate for obvious deformity and degenerative changes within the cervical spine.
- MRI – a highly specialized imaging scan that will help confirm a diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy.
- Electromyography – evaluate and record electrical activity in your skeletal muscles
- Nerve Conduction Studies – examine the electrical conduction of both motor and sensory nerves of the body. A deficit in a nerve group is often correlated to an underlying radiculopathy.
Conservative care is a necessary and responsible first step in the treatment of any cervical radiculopathy case. Conservative care includes, but is certainly not limited to:
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy sessions will begin by addressing pain and inflammation by relaxing muscle spasms and correcting posture that triggers pain. An expert physical therapist will perform manual nerve glides to reduce nerve irritation in the neck. Guided stretching and joint mobilization techniques will help relieve inflammation and increase your range of motion, making movement much more comfortable. Exercises need to be done regularly to prevent further nerve impingement and to continuously relieve pressure on the nerve roots exiting the spine. Physical therapy done regularly with a highly trained professional will almost always relieve cervical radiculopathy, depending on the severity of your case.
- Injection – Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections are useful for severe pain caused by cervical radiculopathy. Though these injections very rarely have any side effects and can be used as a fairly regular therapy, they are usually done with the goal of relieving pain enough to complete a physical rehabilitation program. The injected medicine consists of a local anesthetic, for soreness at the time of injection, and a corticosteroid that will take affect after a few days, relieving inflammation. The injection is done directly at the site of pain, relieving inflammation enough to reduce symptoms of cervical radiculopathy and make movement easier.