Cervical radiculopathy (CR) is a dysfunction of cervical spinal nerves and/or cervical spinal nerve roots. It is commonly caused by compression and inflammation of the nerve roots by degenerative changes near the cervical foraminal space such as stenosis; cervical spondylosis; osteophytes; trophic, arthritic or inflamed facet joints; or herniated disc; or even vertebral fractures (Magee 2007). Less common causes include tumors or spinal infections. These can cause nerve root inflammation, impingement or both (Wainner et al. 2003, Ghasemi et al. 2013).
Common symptoms are neck and upper extremity pain with paresthesia, motor function loss, and/or reflex changes in dermatomal or myotomal distribution of the affected nerve root. Degenerative changes at the C6-C7 level are the most frequent cause of CR that lead to C7 radiculopathy. Younger patients usually encounter prolapse of the nucleus pulposus from tear annulus fibrosis and lead to acute CR while subacute CR mainly occur in patients with cervical spondylosis. Chronic CR patients have persistent pain with poor response to conservative treatment (Ghasemi et al. 2013).
Tests for Radiculopathy