Which physical findings are characteristic of cervical disc disease?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Michael B Furman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Answer

Decreased sensation to pain, light touch, or vibration may be present in the distal upper limb. Proximal limb weakness manifests when significant motor root compromise exists, but this symptom must be differentiated from pain-related weakness.

Diminished or absent reflexes corresponding to the root level may be present. Increased upper and lower limb reflexes or other upper motor neuron signs suggest myelopathy and mandate aggressive diagnostic evaluation as well as differentiation from other causes of upper motor neuron pathology

The patient with discogenic pain without nerve root involvement demonstrates decreased cervical range of motion, normal neurologic examination, and possible pain exacerbation with axial compression and pain alleviation with distraction.

Myofascial tender or trigger points, which may be primary in origin or secondary to other pathologic processes, commonly, are palpable.

Tenderness with posteroanterior mobilization may suggest disc pathology.


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