A pinched cervical nerve occurs when there is compression on the nerves in the neck and is a common cause for neck pain. It’s often a result of an injury such as whiplash from a car accident or a fall. Since you do many things with your neck daily this is a condition that can greatly affect your day-to-day life.
There are many things that can pinch or compress the nerves in your neck depending on your age. In the older population it is often a result of osteoarthritis, while in the younger population it is often caused by injury or a herniated disc. Listed below are some of the more common causes.
Causes of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck
This occurs when the tough outer shell of our intervertebral discs ruptures or tears. When this happens, the gel like center of the disc (helps to cushion the spine) pushes out and into the spinal canal. Since there is only a limited amount of space in the spinal canal it is very easy for the surrounding nerves to become pinched.
These boney growths (also known as osteophytes) can be caused by many back conditions, all of which are known contributors to pinched nerves. These boney growths form as a result of friction, pressure, or stress to bones in the spine over a long period of time. The longer this process is allowed to go on, the larger your bone spur would become, increasing the risk of nerve compression.
An injury to the neck due to an accident or injury can damage the neck in many ways; many times it can be linked to whiplash as a result of a car accident or sudden force applied to the cervical spine.
This is the degeneration of the disks and vertebrae in your spine that occurs as we get older. Another name for this is cervical osteoarthritis and is seen in those who are age 40 and older.
Cervical Degenerative Disease:
As we get older the bones and vertebrae that make up the spine start to deteriorate. To an extent, everybody suffers from this degeneration, but in some this damage is much more pronounced and may go on to cause other problems such as bone spurs or a narrowing of the spinal spaces. These irregularities in the back can go on to compress or pinch your nerves as they branch out into the body. Thankfully only a small amount of people with spinal degeneration go on to experience any symptoms.
This is a narrowing of the spaces in the neck and upper parts of the spine and is most often seen in those who are over the age of 50. There are exemptions to the rule including those who are born with naturally small spinal canals. As the space in your spine becomes smaller there is an increase in pressure on the nerves.