Cervical nerve roots, named C1 through C8, exit the cervical spine above the designated vertebral level at all levels except the last level. The cervical nerve then branch out to supply muscles that enable functioning of the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. They also carry sensory fibers to the skin that provide sensation. When any nerve root in the cervical spine is irritated through compression or inflammation, symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness can radiate anywhere along that nerve's pathway into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand. Cervical radiculopathy symptoms most commonly appear intermittently at first—coming and going—but they could also develop suddenly or gradually.
Cervical facet syndrome is the structural deterioration of one or more of the vertebral facet joints in neck. These affected nerve roots are located in the neck, but the nerves themselves exit the spinal column and branch out to innervate other areas of the body. Symptoms can radiate down the affected nerve, manifesting as numbness, weakness, tingling or pain in the shoulders, arms or hands. The location depends on which nerve root is affected. This type of osteoarthritis is particularly common later in life, and can lead to significant, chronic pain if left untreated. As is the case with most degenerative spine conditions, treatment of cervical facet syndrome is normally first attempted conservatively, with more invasive options considered if the pain continues.
Degenerative disc disease is a condition caused by the breakdown of the discs that separate the spine bones. As you age, the spine begins to show signs of wear and tear as the discs dry out and shrink. These age-related changes can lead to arthritis, disc herniation, or spinal stenosis. Pressure on the spinal cord and nerves may cause pain. Physical therapy, self-care, medication, and spinal injections are used to manage symptoms. Surgery is an option if the pain is chronic.
Cervical myofascial pain originates from neck muscle and surrounding fascia and is characterized by the presence of trigger points. Myofascial pain syndrome is said to constitute the largest group of unrecognized and among the most commonly overlooked causes of chronic pain and disability. Cervical myofascial pain is described as steady, deep, and aching pain .The muscles most often implicated in cervical myofascial pain are the trapezius, levator scapulae, rhomboids, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus.