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Physical Function Outcome in Cervical Radiculopathy Patients After Physiotherapy Alone Compared With Anterior Surgery Followed by Physiotherapy: A Prospective Randomized Study With a 2-Year Follow-up
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Physiotherapy. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6075-4432
Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
Ryhov Hospital, Jönköping, Sweden.
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
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2013 (English)In: Spine, ISSN 0362-2436, E-ISSN 1528-1159, Vol. 38, no 4, 300-307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Study Design. Prospective randomized study.

Objective. To investigate differences in physical functional outcome in patients with radiculopathy due to cervical disc disease, after structured physiotherapy alone (consisting of neck-specific exercises with a cognitive-behavioral approach) versus after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) followed by the same structured physiotherapy program.

Summary of Background Data. No earlier studies have evaluated the effectiveness of a structured physiotherapy program or postoperative physical rehabilitation after ACDF for patients with magnetic resonance imaging–verified nerve compression due to cervical disc disease.

Methods. Our prospective randomized study included 63 patients with radiculopathy and magnetic resonance imaging–verified nerve root compression, who were randomized to receive either ACDF in combination with physiotherapy or physiotherapy alone. For 49 of these patients, an independent examiner measured functional outcomes, including active range of neck motion, neck muscle endurance, and hand-related functioning before treatment and at 3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups.

Results. There were no significant differences between the 2 treatment alternatives in any of the measurements performed (P = 0.17–0.91). Both groups showed improvements over time in neck muscle endurance (P ≤ 0.01), manual dexterity (P ≤ 0.03), and right-handgrip strength (P = 0.01).

Conclusion. Compared with a structured physiotherapy program alone, ACDF followed by physiotherapy did not result in additional improvements in neck active range of motion, neck muscle endurance, or hand-related function in patients with radiculopathy. We suggest that a structured physiotherapy program should precede a decision for ACDF intervention in patients with radiculopathy, to reduce the need for surgery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013. Vol. 38, no 4, 300-307 p.
Keyword [en]
cervical spine, disc, radiculopathy, surgery, physiotherapy
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-90087DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31826d2cbbISI: 000315029600013OAI: diva2:612401

Funding Agencies|Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden (FORSS)||

Available from: 2013-03-21 Created: 2013-03-19 Last updated: 2013-09-17Bibliographically approved

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Peolsson, AnneliLöfgren, HåkanVavruch, LudekÖberg, Birgitta
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