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Cervical nerve root entrapment

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Patients with a diseased cervical spine may complain of both neck pain and pain referred to the arm. In such cases it is possible that one of the cranial nerve roots are being impinged upon.

A full neurological examination should be performed and may reveal muscle weakness, decreased reflexes and sensory changes.

  • C5 root; weakness of shoulder flexion and extension, elbow flexion; reduced biceps reflex; sensory loss affecting lateral arm

  • C6 root; weakness of elbow flexion and wrist extension; reduced biceps supinator reflex; sensory loss affecting lateral forearm, thumb, index finger

  • C7 root; weakness of elbow extension, wrist flexion, finger extension; reduced triceps reflex, sensory loss affecting middle finger

  • C8 root; weakness of finger flexion; sensory loss affecting the ring finger, middle finger and medial forearm

  • T1 root; weakness of finger abduction and adduction; sensory loss affecting the medial forearm

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