Diagnostic accuracy of upper limb neurodynamic tests in the diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy

Review written by Dr Julia Treleaven info

Key Points

  1. If the patient has 3/4 positive upper limb neurodynamic tests (ULNT) it increases the likelihood of cervical radiculopathy (CR), but doesn’t rule it out.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Upper limb neurodynamic tests (ULNT) are used to help diagnose several neuropathic conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of ULNTs performed by a physiotherapist to diagnose cervical radiculopathy (CR). The authors specifically aimed to determine if using more rigid definitions of a positive test could improve the diagnostic accuracy, and whether results from a combination of tests were better than individual tests.

Upper limb neurodynamic tests are used to help diagnose several neuropathic conditions.
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This study highlights the importance of using both pain reproduction as well as structural differentiation as the criteria for a positive ULNT for differential diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy.

METHODS

85 patients with arm pain with or without neck pain were included in the study. 58 were diagnosed without CR and 27 with CR by an experienced neurosurgeon based on both the patient presentation and relevant MRI results demonstrating nerve

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