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Ann Clin Neurophysiol > Volume 10(2); 2008 > Article
Ann Clin Neurophysiol. 2008; 10(2): 83-97.
Clinical Characteristics of Cervical and Thoracic Radiculopathies: Non-Invasive Interventional Therapy
Hakjae Roh, Sang-Heon Lee, and Byung-Jo Kim
Copyright © 2008 The Korean Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ABSTRACT
Cervical and thoracic radiculopathies are among the most common causes of neck pain. The most common causes are cervical disc herniation and cervical spondylosis in patients with cervical radiculopathy, and diabetes mellitus and thoracic disc herniation in thoracic radiculopathy. A thorough history, physical examination, and testing that includes electrodiagnostic examination and imaging studies may distinguish radiculopathy from other pain sources. Although various electrodiagnostic examinations may help evaluate radiculopathy, needle electromyography is the most important, sensitive, and specific method. Outcome studies of conservative treatments have shown varying results and have not been well controlled or systematic. When legitimate incapacitating symptoms continue despite conservative treatment attempts, more invasive spinal procedures and intradiscal treatment may be appropriate. Surgery has been shown to have excellent clinical outcomes in patients with disc extrusion and neurological deficits. However, patients with minimal disc herniation have fair or poor surgical outcomes. In addition, conventional open disc surgery entails various inadvertent surgical related risks. Although there has not yet been a non-surgical interventional procedure developed with the therapeutic efficacy of open surgery, conservative procedures can offer substantial benefits, are less invasive, and avoid surgical complications. While more invasive procedures may be appropriate when conservative treatment fails, prospective studies evaluating cervical and thoracic radiculopathies treatment options would help guide practitioners toward optimally cost-effective patient evaluation and care.
Key words: Cervical radiculopathy, thoracic radiculopathy, non-surgical interventional treatment, disc herniation, percutaneous
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