Nerve root impingement is when a nerve becomes mechanically irritated and can generate a pain that radiates down the arm and/or causes specific weakness in a muscle group.
True nerve root impingement that mechanically compresses a nerve to the point that the nerve can no longer send a message to the muscles, is not common. If you have muscle wastage and weakness then you must consult your healthcare practitioner.
A degree of nerve root irritation that generates a painful warning is however more common and symptoms can last for several weeks. In the absence of a loss of muscle function and despite intense pain, is not however necessary to rush towards a surgical option. The majority of people with nerve root impingement recover from the irritation over time.
It is important to note that not all neural irritation is caused by mechanical changes. There are conditions when muscles weaken and wastage is observed without any mechanical dysfunction i.e. there is no ‘slipped disc’, no ‘trapped nerve’.
There are problems and diseases that involve inflammatory changes, viral infections and dysfunction within the persons auto-immune system. These problems can also cause radiating pain and potential muscle weakness.
Again, when a person has any loss of function it is essential they consult their medical practitioner to determine diagnosis.
The advice provided by MSK 360 is generic information designed to help a person attain the best health of their neck and minimise further mechanical irritation whilst their body’s healing process restores normal function.