This video–Cervical Foraminal Stenosis and Nerve Compression–uses a cervical spine model and an actual cadaveric vertebra specimen to demonstrate how degeneration of the front part of the cervical or neck vertebra (called the uncovertebral joint) causes compression of the nerve root. This is a common cause of neck pain. The uncovertebral joint commonly develops bone spurs with degenerative disc disease of the neck. Since this joint is the front of the nerve exit hole (foramen), this bone spur will narrow the exit hole and can pinch the nerve (causing a pinched nerve of the neck). Bending to the side of the spur and bending the head backwards will cause the nerve to be compressed. Bending away from the pain and bending the head forward will relax the nerve and reduce pain (Please see the video Anatomy and motion of the cervical spine to understand how motion affects the nerve foramen).
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.