Any condition that affects the nerves of the neck are described as cervical radiculopathy. The neck, medically referred to as the cervical spine, is formed by 8 vertebrae that start from the base of the skull to the shoulders. Cervical nerves radiate out of 7 of these vertebrae and branch out to supply sensation to the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Cervical radiculopathy, therefore, causes symptoms across the entire upper body and the extremities.
Damage to the cervical nerves causes damage to the entire region served by the specific nerve. For example, there may be pain in the shoulder if the affected nerve was responsible for supplying sensation to the shoulder. Most of the time, cervical radiculopathy affects the entire arm, from the shoulder to the fingers. The pain varies from one person to the other, sometimes presenting as a sharp and severe pain, while others may experience: