Have you ever heard the phrase “pinched nerve” and thought you may have one too? If you have ongoing pain in your neck it,

By Aury Nagy, MD
Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Neurosurgeon

Have you ever heard the phrase “pinched nerve” and thought you may have one too? If you have ongoing pain in your neck it, it could be caused by injury or inflammation in the neck, which can often be treated with rest, medication and physical therapy. If your pain is coming from pressure on your nerves, the affected nerve might need more aggressive treatment.

Usually, when something hurts, you don’t have to look far to find the source of the pain. But an injury near the root of a nerve can result in pain at the end of the nerve where sensation is felt. For example, an injury to the vertebrae or disks in your neck (cervical vertebrae) can result in pain, numbness, or weakness in your shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand because the nerves that extend out from between the cervical vertebrae provide sensation and trigger movement in these areas. This condition is called cervical radiculopathy.

Cervical radiculopathy is caused by any condition that puts pressure on the nerves where they leave the spinal column. This is much different than mechanical neck pain. Mechanical neck pain is caused by injury or inflammation in the soft tissues of the neck, such as the discs, facet joints, ligaments or muscles.

What Do I Do?
Start with a visit to your regular physician to determine the cause of your pain. You may be asked to extend and rotate your neck and/or arm to reproduce the pain symptoms. An X-ray will usually show any degenerative disk problems. Your physician may also request MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT (computed tomography) using an injected dye to outline the nerves.

If conservative treatment fails to relieve your pain over the course of 6 to 12 weeks, surgery may be an option. The surgical procedure will depend on the underlying condition. Your surgeon will discuss the options with you. In most instances, surgery not only relieves the pain, but also improves functioning and movement of the affected areas.

Cervical radiculopathy is most commonly treated with a discectomy and fusion. In a discectomy, the surgeon removes the disc where it is pressing against a nerve. For most patients, a discectomy is done together with a procedure called cervical fusion. A fusion surgery joins two or more bones into one solid bone. The space between the vertebrae is propped and held open by a bone graft, which enlarges the neural foramina, taking pressure off the nerve roots.

As with any pain, your doctor or I can help you determine the best course of action. Cervical radiculopathy is truly a “pain in the neck” but can be treated to help relieve the pain and give you your life back.


Dr. Aury Nagy is a board certified and fellowship trained neurosurgeon with offices in Henderson, Southwest Las Vegas, Northwest Las Vegas and Bullhead City. In addition to his neurosurgery practice, he serves as Spine Committee Chair and Neurosurgery Section Chief for Spring Valley Hospital as well as an adjunct clinical faculty member for Touro University. He is also a product development consultant and Speakers Bureau clinical lecturer and educator for Integra Neurosciences.

Dr. Nagy is a frequent author on the subject of back pain and has participated in several research programs about spine and brain injuries. He was the first neurosurgeon in Nevada to place an artificial cervical disc in a patient and his deep brain stimulation procedures for Parkinson’s patients are well-regarded.

To schedule an appointment, call 702-737-7753

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