Cervicobrachialgia refers to pain that originates in the cervical spine (neck) and radiates down the arm. It may be associated with compression or irritation of the nerves leaving the spinal cord in the neck region.
Diagnosis of cervicobrachialgia involves a thorough clinical evaluation and diagnostic testing.
- Medical history: The physician gathers information about symptoms, such as neck and arm pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the arm, as well as medical history and previous cervical spine injuries.
- Physical examination: A physical examination is performed to assess neck mobility, muscle strength and reflexes in the arm, and to look for signs of nerve compression.
- Imaging studies: Cervical x-rays can show structural abnormalities in the cervical spine, such as herniated discs or bone spurs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide more detailed images of soft tissues and nerves.
Treatment of cervicobrachialgia may include a variety of options, ranging from conservative measures to more invasive interventions.
Some common options are:
- Rest and self-care: Rest the neck and avoid activities that may worsen symptoms. Apply hot or cold compresses to the affected area, and perform stretching and cervical strengthening exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist.
- Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, may help relieve mild pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and inflammation in moderate cases.
- Muscle relaxants: They can be prescribed to reduce muscle tension and relieve pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of cervicobrachialgia. It includes manual therapy techniques, strengthening exercises and stretching, and physical modalities such as heat or cold therapy.
- Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroid infiltrations may be used in the cervical region to reduce inflammation and pain. These infiltrations are performed under imaging guidance, such as fluoroscopy or ultrasound.
- Surgery: In severe cases or when relief is not achieved with other treatment options, surgery may be considered. This may involve decompression of compressed nerves or stabilization of the cervical spine.
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