WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Cervical radiculopathy is a painful condition that happens when a spinal nerve in your neck is pinched or irritated. This may cause a shooting pain or numbness in your neck or down your arms.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Opioids: This is a strong medicine given to reduce severe pain. It is also called narcotic pain medicine. Take this medicine exactly as directed.
- Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease redness, pain, and swelling.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or spine specialist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.
- Use ice: Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Place the ice over your neck for as long and as often as your primary healthcare provider says you should.
- Rest: Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Wear a soft collar: You may be given a soft collar to support your neck while you sleep. Wear the soft collar only as directed.
- Do light stretches and regular exercise: Your primary healthcare provider may suggest light stretches to help decrease stiffness in your neck and arm as you recover. After your pain is controlled, you may benefit from regular exercise. Ask your primary healthcare provider what type of exercise is safe for your back and neck.
- Review your work area: A comfortable work area can help prevent neck strain. Ask your employer to look at the position of your desk, chair, phone, and computer. This is sometimes called an ergonomic review.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or spine specialist if:
- You have a fever.
- You get an upset stomach or vomit after you take your medicine.
- You are losing weight without trying.
- Your pain is worse, even with medicine.
- One or both hands feel more numb than before, or you cannot move your fingers well.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop a rash or hives (large, itchy bumps) on your skin, or you are having trouble breathing.
© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.