Cervical Radiculopathy: Diagnosis and Nonoperative Management

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 1996 Nov;4(6):305-316. doi: 10.5435/00124635-199611000-00003.


Cervical radiculopathy presents as pain in a dermatomal distribution. This frequently represents compression of an exiting cervical nerve root by either a herniated disk or a degenerative cervical spondylotic change. Most patients will improve with nonoperative treatment, and a small percentage will require further diagnostic evaluation and ultimately surgical intervention. An understanding of the normal anatomy and the pathologic changes in cervical radiculopathy will improve the understanding of diagnosis and decision making regarding nonoperative interventions. An algorithmic approach for decision making and a review of nonoperative management are presented.