Nerve pain in the C8 region may be caused by illness, accident, obesity, poor posture, aging, and diseases. The C8 nerve is responsible for sending signals to the nerve roots which control hand functions, including grip. When damage or impingement of the nerve is present, a condition called radiculopathy may occur. Radiculopathy is a problem with the nerves that may cause symptoms of severe pain, numbness and weakness in the regions of the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands.
There are thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves in the human body. Eight are in the cervical region, twelve in the thoracic region, five in lumbar region, five in sacral region, and one in the coccygeal region. Spinal nerves travel from the spinal cord to different areas of the body such as organs and extremities. C8 is located between the seventh cervical vertebra and the first thoracic vertebra, traveling to the ulnar region of the arms.
Nerve pain is caused when the nerves are injured, pinched, inflamed or stretched. Pinched nerves from herniated and bulging discs cause inflammation and pressure which radiates pain. Degenerative disc disease is another condition that may occur during the aging process, causing the discs to lose flexibility and impinge on the nerves.
A full medical history and physical examination will be performed by a physician. If further testing is required, imaging tests may be performed. Diagnostic imaging tools include X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Nerve conduction tests and/or electromyography are nerve studies that may be required to detect the severity of nerve damage. When testing indicates that nerve damage is severe, a CT myleogram, which shows images of bone structures of the cervical region and its nerves, may be performed, .
Depending on the severity of the condition and the exact diagnosis, treatment options may include medications, physical therapy and surgery. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and pressure. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications, muscle relaxers and narcotics are medications prescribed to reduce neck pain. If traditional medications do not work, epidural and facet joint injections may be performed in the cervical region. Surgery is the last option and reserved only for individuals who suffer from severe neck pain with deformities.
Preventing pain from occurring in the neck, specifically in the C8 region, is difficult. Some individuals are predisposed to the condition through genetics. Adopting a healthy lifestyle to include diet and exercise can help prevent obesity, which is one of the contributing causes of disc compression. A health care professional may also suggest physical therapy to prevent further damage and chronic pain from occurring.