From Dr. Natalie Meiri’s Clinical Pearl Stories:

Chiropractic Care for Cervical Radiculopathy


This was a 68 year old patient who had neck and left hand numbness and pain. To be HIPAA compliant, I will call him Wallace instead of his real name.  Wallace had treated with another chiropractor prior to seeing me.  He had gone to physical therapy for his lower back which was much better.  However, Wallace’s orthopedist thought his cervical spine (neck) condition was a surgical case.  After trying another chiropractor and acupuncture, he presented to my office.

Wallace worked as a handyman for 30 years and attributed some of his neck problems to his daily work activity.  However, he really didn’t know why this had occurred.  What really bothered him was the constant numbness in his last 2 fingers (4th and 5th digits) and weakness in his left hand. 

Wallace had been prescribed NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which gave him very little relief.  


Wallace’s Examination and Imaging

Upon examination, there were positive tests for his cervical spine (neck) as well as the left hand-4th and 5th finger symptoms giving the diagnosis of C8 radiculopathy. 

I ordered X-rays of Wallace’s cervical spine. The findings in his x-rays were a reversal in the natural lordotic curve and moderate to severe osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis). 

I would order a M.R.I. if he wasn’t improving in a month or 12 visits. 

After that, I explained his diagnosis (radiculopathy of C8 nerve root and osteoarthritis), prognosis and treatment plan.


Dr. Natalie Meiri adjusts a patient


Wallace’s Treatment

Firstly, Wallace’s chiropractic treatment for C8 radiculopathy consisted of chiropractic manipulation/ adjustments of the cervical spine (at levels above the C8 nerve root) and associated regions.  Associated regions that were adjusted were his thoracic and lumbar spine (low back) which were misaligned (subluxations or intersegmental dysfunctions).

Secondly, soft tissue therapy (myofascial release, pressure point and various post isometric relaxation procedures) and modalities (cold/heat therapy and electric muscle stimulation) were administered as needed.

Thirdly, he was given therapeutic exercises to continue his treatment at home.

Fourthly, Wallace was given recommendations on his activities of daily living (ergonomics on posture etc) at home and work. 

Lastly, his visits started at 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks and than 1-2 times a week thereafter for 3 months. 

What is a radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is a neurologic condition resulting from compression or inflammation of the cervical nerve roots (initial segment of nerve leaving central nervous system). The nerve compression is caused by narrowing of the neural foramen (opening in spine for nerve exit) due to cervical spondylosis (osteoarthritis), disc (small rubbery cartilage between spinal vertebrae) herniation, trauma, or an abnormal curve of the spine. The majority of cases of cervical radiculopathy stem from degenerative disease (osteoarthritis) in the cervical spine.

In Osteoarthritis, your disk desiccates (drying out) over time.  This can lead to decreased disk height, hypertrophy of the uncinate joint (joint becomes bigger), foraminal stenosis (nerve exit gets smaller) and cervical radiculopathy occurs.  Finally, disk degeneration and herniation trigger a pro-inflammatory cascade causing further nerve root irritation.

Indeed, trauma or swelling can contribute to symptoms.  Cervical radiculopathy can less commonly be caused by tumors, infection, or changes in blood flow. 


Wallace’s Outcome

The outcome for Wallace was excellent! He started feeling better immediately from the first few visits.  Moreover, after a few weeks of continued care his function improved. His range of motion greatly improved and he gained the strength back in his hands.  By the end of his 3 months of corrective care, he was pain-free and functioning optimally. Wallace returned for once a month supportive/maintenance care after this.


Chiropractic Care for Cervical Radiculopathy at Meiri Chiropractic

So Cervical radiculopathy is a medical condition where there can be symptoms of pain, weakness, and/or numbness as a result of a pinched or irritated nerve in the neck.  Cervical radiculopathy will cause loss of function and/or symptoms in one or both arms.  And Chiropractic Adjustments restore joint mobility and function, resolves joint inflammation and reduces the patient’s pain.

Do you know someone who is in need of chiropractic care for cervical radiculopathy? Contact Dr. Natalie Meiri of Meiri Chiropractic today at 561-253-8984 to learn more about Chiropractic Care for Cervical Radiculopathy or to schedule an appointment.