Cervical and Thoracic Radiculopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Chiropractic Care greater life chiropractic

Cervical and Thoracic Radiculopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Chiropractic Care

Cervical and thoracic radiculopathy are conditions that result from nerve compression in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (upper back) spine, both of which can cause significant discomfort and impair daily activities. Understanding the causes and recognizing the symptoms can help you to identify these issues and seek proper care from a Charlotte chiropractor to prevent further issues.

Causes of Cervical/Thoracic Radiculopathy

The cervical spine consists of the seven vertebrae in the neck, supporting the head’s weight and allowing for a wide range of motion. The thoracic spine, comprising the twelve vertebrae in the upper back, connects to the rib cage. Cervical and thoracic radiculopathy occur when the nerves in these parts of the spine are compressed.

Several factors can contribute to the nerve compression that’s at the root of this condition. One common cause is herniated discs, where the inner gel-like core of the disc protrudes through its outer layer, pressing against nearby nerves. Degenerative disc disease, a condition where the discs in the spine lose hydration and flexibility as we age, can also lead to nerve compression.

In other cases, bone spurs, which are bony growths that develop due to osteoarthritis, can put pressure on spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, is another condition that can compress the nerves, leading to radiculopathy.

Symptoms of Cervical/Thoracic Radiculopathy

Recognizing the symptoms of cervical and thoracic radiculopathy is the best way to ensure early intervention and treatment. Common symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain: Sharp, shooting pain that radiates from the neck or upper back down the arms or chest is a hallmark of radiculopathy.
  • Numbness and Tingling: Affected nerves can cause sensations of numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” feeling in the arms, hands, or chest.
  • Muscle Weakness: Compression of the nerves can lead to muscle weakness in the arms, shoulders, or upper back.
  • Reduced Reflexes: Reflexes in the arms may be diminished, indicating nerve involvement.

Finding Care for Cervical/Thoracic Radiculopathy

Managing cervical and thoracic radiculopathy often can often require a combination of changes in your own lifestyle and finding care from professionals, including chiropractors.

Chiropractors utilize adjustments to correct misalignments and reduce pressure on the affected nerves, which can alleviate pain and improve function. These adjustments help restore proper alignment to the spine, promoting better posture and reducing the likelihood of further nerve compression. Maintaining good posture, avoiding activities that strain the neck and upper back, and using ergonomic furniture can also help to prevent further nerve compression.

In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the source of nerve compression, such as herniated discs or bone spurs.

Find Relief at Greater Life Chiropractic

If you’re experiencing symptoms of cervical or thoracic radiculopathy, don’t wait for the pain to worsen. Greater Life Chiropractic is here to help you find relief and improve your quality of life. Dr. Grant Lisetor and our team can develop a personalized care plan tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a pain-free life!


Alagha, B. “Chiropractic and rehabilitation management of a patient with extraforaminal entrapment of L4 nerve with balance problem.” Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 2015; 28 (3): 603-7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25391323/

Brouillette, D.L., Gurske, D.T. “Chiropractic treatment of cervical radiculopathy caused by a herniated cervical disc.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1994 Feb; 17 (2): 119-23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8169540/