Cervical Spine Archives

What situation do you most dread during game day coverage? I know what my most dreaded situation is – seeing one of my guys stay down after a tackle, laying motionless on the ground. I think at that point you know, as the sports physio, it is GAME TIME! The decisions that you make over the next few moments have the potential to impact the rest of that player’s life. Pretty heavy huh! So you would want to make sure that what you do when you get out there is evidence based wouldn’t you? This article gives you that knowledge…

Cervical radiculopathy is a pathology of the cervical nerve root (Dox et al 1979), frequently associated with cervical disc herniation or another space occupying lesion (such as osteophytes), which can cause nerve root impingement and inflammation. As many of you will be aware, this can be a very painful and often debilitating condition. Although the natural history of the condition is favourable, it has been suggested that if the condition becomes chronic it can be recurring and impact negatively on physical and mental health. Therefore, it is essential that as physiotherapists we are aware of the most evidence informed diagnosis and treatment techniques for cervical radiculopathy.

Neck pain is a common clinical presentation, affecting up to two-thirds of the population at some time in their life. Therefore, as sports physiotherapists we will regularly assess and treat athletes with recent onset neck pain. As a component of rehabilitation many physiotherapists will include some form of evidence based manual therapy, commonly either mobilisation or manipulation. However, a clinical question I am often asked (by both myself and patients) is what additional benefits does manipulation provide, given the additional risks? This clinical question is answered by a recent RCT that compares the use of mobilisation and manipulation in patients with recent onset neck pain.

Neck injuries, and the possibility of a spinal injury, in sport is a very serious issue. As sports physiotherapists we frequently assess neck injuries, and inappropriate diagnosis and subsequent management has the clear potential for catastrophic consequences. At times it can be difficult to differentiate the serious from the benign, and hence make appropriate decisions. However, it is fortunate that there is a sound evidence basis for when patients with traumatic neck injuries should be sent for further investigations.

Do you want to know when you should send an athlete for radiography. Read on.