A Pinched Cervical Nerve

Radiculopathy or a pinched cervical nerve as its also known, occurs when there is compression or something irritating the nerves in the neck and is a common cause for back pain. This condition is often a result of an injury such as whiplash from a car accident or a fall, but it can also be caused by the degeneration of other parts of your spine as you get older. In the older population it is often a result of osteoarthritis, while in the younger population it is often causes by injury or a herniated disc. Since you use your neck every day, even when you sleep when you have a pinched nerve it can greatly affect your day-to-day life.

Listed below are some of the more common conditions that can lead to pinched nerves.

Causes of Cervical Radiculopathy

Herniated Discs

This occurs when the tough outer shell of our inter-vertebral discs ruptures or tears. When this happens, the gel like center of the disc (helps to cushion the spine) pushes out and into the spinal canal. Since there is only a limited amount of space in the spinal canal it is very easy for the surrounding nerves to become pinched.

Bone spurs

These boney growths (also known as osteophytes) can be caused by many back conditions, all of which are known contributors to pinched nerves. These bony growths form as a result of friction, pressure, or stress to bones in the spine over a long period of time. The longer this process is allowed to go on, the larger your bone spur would become, increasing the risk of nerve compression.


An injury to the neck due to an accident or injury can damage the neck in many ways; many times it can be linked to whiplash as a result of a car accident or sudden force applied to the cervical spine.

Cervical Spondylosis

This is the degeneration of the disks and vertebrae in your spine that occurs as we get older. Another name for this is cervical osteoarthritis and is seen in those who are age 40 and older.

Cervical Degenerative Disease

As we get older the bones and vertebrae that make up the spine start to deteriorate at a faster rate. To an extent, everybody suffers from this degeneration, but in some this damage is much more pronounced and may go on to cause other problems such as bone spurs or a narrowing of the spinal spaces. These irregularities in the back can go on to compress or pinch your nerves as they branch out into the body. Thankfully only a small amount of people with spinal degeneration go on to experience any symptoms.

Cervical Stenosis

This is a narrowing of the spaces in the neck and upper parts of the spine and is most often seen in those who are over the age of 50. There are exemptions to the rule including those who are born with naturally small spinal canals. As the space in your spine becomes smaller there is an increase in pressure on the nerves.