Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root coming off the spinal cord becomes compressed. The compression can occur for various reasons. The cervical spine consists of 7 cervical vertebrae. Each vertebra is separated by a gel-like disc which provides shock absorption for the spine.

 

The spinal cord travels through a canal in the cervical vertebrae. Spinal nerve roots extend from the spinal cord and branch off going to specific locations in the arm. The spinal nerves send signals to our muscles for movement as well as sensations that we feel in the entire arm. When the spinal nerves are impinged, they cannot properly send messages to the muscles from the brain, nor receive proper sensation from the specific arm location the nerve travels. Everywhere the spinal nerve travels will be affected. That is why a pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain, weakness, and loss of sensation in the arm.