Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy


  • Cervical radiculopathy includes cervical radicular pain and/or radiculopathy, with disc herniation being the most common cause.
  • Radicular pain involves ectopic discharges from a dorsal root, while radiculopathy involves conduction block along a spinal nerve or its roots


  • Mechanical compression of the nerve root by factors like hypertrophied facet joints, disc protrusion, or spondylotic spurring leads to radiculopathy.
  • Incidence: Annual incidence of 82.3 new cases per 100,000 people, with males (107) more affected than females (64); C7 nerve root most commonly affected.

Clinical Picture

  • Signs & symptoms include varying degrees of arm pain, paresthesia, sensory loss, motor weakness, and decreased reflexes, often with neck pain of lesser intensity.


  • Tests include Upper Limb Tension Tests, Spurling’s Test, Cluster of Wainner, Cervical Distraction Test, Shoulder Abduction Sign, Valsalva Maneuver, Arm Squeeze Test, and Neck Tornado Test.
  • Neurological examination focuses on assessing hyporeflexia, hypoesthesia, and paresis using Upper Limb Deep Tendon Reflexes and dermatome/myotome testing.


  • Treatment aims to address modifiable negative prognostic factors and educate patients about the benign course of cervical radicular syndrome.
  • Physiotherapy interventions focus on pain reduction, disability management, and improving range of motion and joint mobility.
  • Manual therapy, neck and upper limb strengthening exercises, thoracic manipulation, neural tissue management, and nerve gliding exercises are effective treatments.
  • Cervical traction may be considered, especially when added to other physiotherapy procedures, for pain reduction.
  • Surgical treatment may show more rapid improvement in the short term but yields similar long-term results to physiotherapy alone, suggesting physiotherapy should precede surgery.

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