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Cervical Radiculopathy 

Cervical Radiculopathy
Chapter:
Cervical Radiculopathy
Source:
Neuropathic Pain: A Case-Based Approach to Practical Management
Author(s):

Samuel W. Samuel

, and Eduardo E. Icaza

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190298357.003.0026

This chapter discusses cervical radiculopathy, a common, painful condition from cervical root compression, irritation, or both. A thorough history and physical exam can often help in diagnosing the affected nerve root, without the need for reflexive imaging. A series of provocative tests can aid in the differential diagnosis. Most cases will be resolved with conservative management within several weeks of symptoms onset. Evidence-based conservative management includes physical therapy and oral NSAIDs. If symptoms indicate myelopathic changes or are refractory to 6 to 8 weeks of conservative management, advanced imaging such as MRI should be considered. Patients with imaging evidence of a compressive etiology and refractory to conservative therapy should have a surgical consultation. Either an MRI or CT should be obtained before surgical decompression. Both interventional and surgical treatments have had positive outcomes in the short term, but long-term outcomes appear comparable to those with conservative therapies. It is recommended that conservative treatment strategies be used for 6–8 weeks before pursuing procedural or surgical intervention.

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