REVIEW OF THE FUNDAMENTAL HISTORY, PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES IN THE ASSESSMENT OF CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY

Main Article Content

Joseph Miller

Keywords

Cervical Radiculopathy, Cervical Spondylosis, Neck Pain, Cervical Spine, Imaging

Abstract

Objective: Cervical radiculopathy is a form of neck pain whose misdiagnosis may result in disability. Although hallmarks of the condition have been identified they are not always consistent, making diagnosis difficult. This paper reviews the history, physical examination and diagnostic procedures recommended for the assessment of cervical radiculopathy.


Method: PubMed. Medline and Google Scholar were searched to identify relevant papers published between 1980- 2020. Search terms included individual use of or a combination of cervical radiculopathy, cervical spondylosis, cervical disc herniation, cervical assessment, cervical imaging, cervical diagnosis, neck pain and neck conditions.


Results: The search identified 24 papers. Although authors generally agreed that a thorough evaluation- including an in-depth history, physical examination and use of diagnostic procedures- are recommended for the workup of cervical radiculopathy, there can be variability. This was present in the selection of provocative tests meant to identify cervical radiculopathy. A novel solution to this variability involving cluster testing has been proposed. This increases the probability of correctly diagnosing cervical radiculopathy.


Conclusion: The results of this review indicate that cervical radiculopathy warrants a thorough assessment to ensure the highest likelihood of correct diagnosis.

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