Cervical Radiculitis

Symptoms by body part:

Cervical Paraspinal (Side of Neck)
Numbness into the shoulder and/or arm and/or hand
Pain into the shoulder and/or arm and/or hand that starts in the neck
Tingling into the shoulder and/or arm and/or hand

Radiculitis is defined as inflammation of the spinal nerve roots that are transmitting sensory and motor information via electrical and chemical signaling that control all aspects of muscle, joint, organ and skin function.  Nerves exit the spinal cord via an intervertebral foramen, or small hole that is formed by the surrounding bones and joints.  This opening is typically twice as large as the nerve root diameter, but often reduces in size due to inflammation from the surrounding soft tissue or changes of the boney structures.  Radiculitis must be carefully diagnosed from peripheral neuropathies as they can often mimic each other.  Clinical examination, X-rays or MRIs, Nerve Conduction Velocity testing and EMGs may be necessary in determining the origin.  

Common Signs/Symptoms

  • Early signs are spasms, or tightness of the muscles in the neck
  • Pain the shoulder, upper arm or forearm that may be referred pain from the cervical spine in origin
  • Pain or burning down the arm and into the hand that is often traceable
  • Weakness within the muscles of the shoulder, arm or hand
  • electrical or shooting types of pain and hypersensitivity
  • Numbness or tingling felt down the arm and hand that is often traceable

Possible Causes

  • Disc Bulges or Herniations (A tear of the outer layer of the disc)
  • Cervical Segmental Restriction
  • Soft Tissue injuries
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Osteophytic changes (Arthritis)
  • Tumors
  • Infection


Chiropractic Neurology is often an excellent treatment for these conditions if not caused by more serious issues that will be determined by thorough examination. Cervical Disc Decompression, Physical Therapy, Specific Chiropractic Neurological adjustments and postural rehab are extremely important aspects of your recovery.  Surgical intervention, steroid injections and other types of treatments are sometimes warranted, but avoided when possible.