Differentiating Symptoms of C6 C7 C8 radiculopathy

Differentiating Symptoms of C6 C7 C8 radiculopathy

What are the differentiating signs and symptoms between a C6, C7, and C8 radiculopathy? 

Compression of the cervical roots typically occurs from either osteophyte or disc herniation.

Compression of the C6 nerve root results in radicular pain involving the shoulder, upper arm, and lateral side of the forearm and thumb. Weakness may occur in the deltoids, biceps, and pronator teres.

Paresthesias may be felt in the thumb and index fingers.

The bicep and brachioradialis reflexes may be diminished. Compression of the C7 nerve root results in radicular pain in the shoulder, chest, and forearm, as well as the index and middle fingers.

Weakness may occur in the triceps and flexor carpi radialis.

Paresthesias may occur in the index and middle fingers.

The triceps reflex is typically diminished. C8 nerve root compression causes a similar pattern of pain as C7 radiculopathies, but paresthesias may occur in the fourth and fifth fingers.

Weakness may occur in the intrinsic muscles of the hand and finger extensors

Sources

Daffner SD, Wang JC: The pathophysiology and non-surgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. Instr Course Lect 58:657-668, 2009.

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