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Cervicobrachialgia: Causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The highest part of the spine is the cervical spine, which is located in the neck and is responsible for the mobility of this part of the body. Throughout the entire spine, we find vertebrae. Still, in the cervical, there are the seven most minor vertebrae in the whole body, which are integrated with tendons, nerves, muscles, and ligaments, which makes this area much more delicate than the rest and that something as simple as the tension of the muscles can affect the entire neck and cause a lot of pain, which we know as cervicalgia.

Cervicobrachialgia is a pain in the cervical spine that spreads to the shoulders, scapula, arms, and hands. On some occasions, it can affect the anterior part of the thorax, causing compression of the nerves that start from the cervical to the arms. This condition can be very bothersome and cause chronic pain that requires medication and physical therapy to improve your symptoms. In this FastlyHealarticle, you can learn more about cervicobrachialgia: symptoms and treatment.

Causes of cervicobrachialgia

Cervicobrachialgia is pain that can occur due to multiple causes. Still, one of the most common is poor body posture, which causes the neck to adopt incorrect positions in which the muscles integrated with the cervical vertebrae are tightened. People who work sitting for long hours in front of a computer in the wrong place are at greater risk of presenting this condition. However, there are some cases in which this disease is congenital.

The most common causes of cervicobrachialgia are:

  • Traumatic injuries such as fractures, whiplash, or muscle tears.
  • Inflammatory diseases such as herpes zoster or rheumatic conditions.
  • Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or herniated discs.
  • Tumors such as myeloma or osteoma.
  • Infections such as tuberculosis or cervical empyema.
  • Acute emotional states such as anxiety and depression.
  • Genetic malformation of the spine.
  • Compression of a nerve by a contracted muscle.

Symptoms of cervicobrachialgia

The main symptom of cervicobrachialgia is pain that radiates from the cervical spine to the arms, shoulders, front of the chest, and scapula, which usually occurs on only one side of the body. However, this pain can be accompanied by several symptoms, such as the following:

  • Muscle stiffness causes difficulty in mobilizing the neck, shoulders, and arms.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Muscular weakness.
  • Sensitivity disorders such as tingling.
  • The sensation of heat in the affected area.
  • Numbness and coldness that can extend to the hands.
  • Headache.
  • Due to difficulty coping with pain and stiffness, mental and emotional problems prevent normal movement.

Symptoms can often worsen if the person goes through episodes of chronic stress, anxiety, overwork, and worries. When a correct posture is not adopted when working, reading, or sleeping, the pain is more pronounced, making it much more difficult to mobilize the neck.

Treatment of cervicobrachialgia


If cervicobrachialgia is a consequence of a traumatic injury, it will be necessary for the person to wear a collar for at least two weeks or until the area has been adequately deflated. The collar will prevent mobility of the neck containing the movement from further stimulating nerve or spinal injuries that may have injured the cervical spine. Physical therapy may be necessary after using the collar to regain mobility in the neck and reduce any pain that may exist.

Analgesics and anti-inflammatories

In any case, but especially when the person has a rheumatic and inflammatory condition, analgesics should be administered to help reduce chronic pain and anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation of the muscles that may be causing tension or compression of the cervical nerves. The person may need to take these medications for a long time.


Almost all people with cervicobrachialgia undergo at least ten physical therapy sessions. In this case, each physiotherapy session includes:

  • Performing massages to relax the muscles and stretch the knots that may appear in the shoulders and neck. Massage can cause dizziness as a side effect.
  • Application of electricity to reduce chronic pain.
  • Application of cold and heat to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical exercises promote neck mobility and relax muscles and nerves. These exercises should be practiced both in therapy and at home and should be performed in front of a mirror to monitor the correct cervical posture during your practice. When cervicobrachialgia is beginning to be treated, the physical exercises of physiotherapy can be excruciating, so it is important not to strain the neck in search of greater mobility.

Once the physiotherapy sessions have been completed, it will be necessary for the physiotherapist to examine the progress of the improvement to analyze if more sessions are required or if the disease can be considered cured. In most cases, people with cervicobrachialgia will experience neck pain.

Recommendations to prevent cervicobrachialgia

  • The person needs to become aware of the importance of good postural hygiene to have a positive impact on pain and quality of life. Read the following article to discover the tricks to improve posture.
  • When the pain is very intense, applying ice or cold compresses for 15 minutes is advisable. Then rest another 15 minutes and reapply cold for the same amount of time.
  • The application of heat helps reduce inflammation in the affected area and relax the muscles.
  • If you have previously suffered from cervicobrachialgia and the symptoms appear again, it is essential to revisit your doctor so that they will indicate if it is necessary to resume physiotherapy sessions and medications.
  • Another recommendation to prevent cervicobrachialgia is to do some exercises to relax the cervicals.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cervicobrachialgia: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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