Determining the level of cervical radiculopathy: agreement between visual inspection of pain drawings and magnetic resonance imaging

Review written by Dr Sarah Haag info

Key Points

  1. Pain drawings are useful clinical tools in conjunction with a complete assessment of a person in pain.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Pain drawings are often used as part of the assessment of people in pain. Identification of radicular symptoms is possible via the pain drawings, but the accuracy of identifying the level of involvement in the spinal cord has not yet been established (1).

This study was a secondary analysis of baseline data collected from patients with MRI-identified cervical radiculopathy. The purpose of this study was to investigate the agreement between the level of cervical radiculopathy derived from pain drawings, MRI, and agreement between four clinicians, based on their assessment of the pain drawings.

Pain drawings are often used as part of the assessment of people in pain.
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The pain drawing can offer insight into the patient’s experience of their pain.

METHODS

  • Two physiotherapists and two spine surgeons assessed 98 pain drawings from a previous study comparing the efficacy of two postoperative rehabilitation interventions for patients undergoing surgery for MRI-confirmed single-level radiculopathy.
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