In many cases, a cervical nerve root injury may be the cause of neck pain. The resulting condition is known as a radiculopathy. Physiotherapy can help reduce pain and improve function. Physical therapists will perform various tests, including the movement of the neck and the strength of the spinal nerve roots. If other problems are suspected, your physiotherapist may refer you for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to check for compression of the nerve root.
A physiotherapist may perform a distraction test, which involves lifting a patient’s head and applying traction force to the affected region. This test is only effective if the patient is experiencing pain when at rest. To carry out the distraction test, the patient must replicate their neck symptoms while attempting to apply pressure to the affected area. If the pressure is too strong, the patient may experience additional pain.
Physiotherapy may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies. Therapeutic exercises are not more effective than physiotherapy alone, although they can help to improve postural re-education and reduce inflammation. The first step in treating cervical radiculopathy is neural mobilization. Neural mobilization aims to increase circulation to the affected area and reduce intraneural edema and pressure. Tension and pressure are the enemy of nerves, and any pressure or tension on a nerve can irritate it.
Physiotherapy can improve mobility in the neck and reduce pain. Manual therapy techniques may increase active range of motion. However, definitive treatment progression is still needed. Physical therapy can be a valuable treatment option for patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy. It is effective for patients with severe neck pain, but it has not been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic cervical radiculopathy. A physiotherapist can help you decide on the best course of action for your condition.