Diagnosis and Management of Cervical Radiculopathy: Current Concepts

Abstract

Cervical radiculopathy is a neurologic condition caused by compression of a nerve root in the cervical spine, most commonly as a result of degenerative cervical spondylosis or intervertebral disk herniation. The disease typically manifests as unilateral neck pain radiating to the arm in a dermatomal pattern. Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness may also be seen. The most common level of involvement is C5-6, followed by C6-7. Most patients with cervical radiculopathy can be successfully managed with nonsurgical treatment. Surgery can be helpful in patients who do not respond to nonsurgical management or in those with significant weakness in one or more muscle groups. Options for surgical treatment include anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion and posterior laminoforaminotomy. The decision to perform one procedure over the other depends on the location of the compressive pathology, the number of levels involved, and whether the patient has neck pain. Relief of arm pain and improvements in motor and sensory function have been reported in 80% to 90% of patients following cervical nerve root decompression.

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