Editorials

Mobilisation or immobilisation for cervical radiculopathy?

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3952 (Published 07 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3952
  1. J David Cassidy, professor of epidemiology and senior scientist
  1. 1Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research, Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5T2S8, Canada
  1. dcassidy{at}uhnresearch.ca

    Let the patient decide

    In the linked randomised controlled study (doi:10.1136/bmj.b3883), Kuijper and colleagues assess the effectiveness of treatment with a semi-hard collar or physiotherapy compared with a wait and see policy in patients with cervical radiculopathy of recent onset.1

    Neck pain is common and costly. Each year about 15% of adults will experience a new episode of neck pain, and it accounts for up to 1% of total healthcare expenditure in the Netherlands.2 3 During any six months, about half of the adult population will report having neck pain, and close to 5% of the population will experience limitations in activity because of this pain. More than a third of adults with neck pain will have persistent symptoms, and about 20% of those who recover will have a recurrence within six months. The exact cause of neck pain is usually not known, and the condition is labelled non-specific or mechanical. Most patients benefit from simple non-operative interventions that promote mobility, activity, and exercise.4

    Neck pain that radiates into the arm, or …

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