Cervical radiculopathy is a disease process marked by nerve compression from herniated disk material or arthritic bone spurs. This impingement typically produces neck and radiating arm pain or numbness, sensory deficits, or motor dysfunction in the neck and upper extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomographic myelography can confirm neurologic compression. The overall prognosis of persons with cervical radiculopathy is favorable. Most patients improve over time with a focused, nonoperative treatment course. There is little high-quality evidence on the best nonoperative therapy for cervical radiculopathy. Cervical collars may be used for a short period of immobilization, and traction may temporarily decompress nerve impingement. Medications may help alleviate pain and neuropathic symptoms. Physical therapy and manipulation may improve neck discomfort, and selective nerve blocks target nerve root pain. Although the effectiveness of individual treatments is controversial, a multimodal approach may benefit patients with cervical radiculopathy and associated neck pain.
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