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Instr Course Lect. 2003;52:489-95.

Evaluation of neck pain, radiculopathy, and myelopathy: imaging, conservative treatment, and surgical indications.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Neck pain is a common complaint that typically represents a spectrum of disorders affecting the cervical spine. The clinical history and examination of patients with neck pain dictate the proper timing and selection of diagnostic studies such as plain radiography, MRI, and myelography with CT. Most neck pain is self-limiting and will resolve with appropriate conservative care. Nonsurgical treatment is the most appropriate first step in almost all cases of cervical radiculopathy. In contrast, the conservative care of cervical spondylotic myelopathy with measures such as physical therapy, spinal manipulation, medications, collars, and traction is limited.

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