The shoulder abduction test in the diagnosis of radicular pain in cervical extradural compressive monoradiculopathies

  • Davidson R
  • Dunn E
  • Metzmaker J
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The authors have observed a series of patients with cervical monoradiculopathies due to extradural compressive disease in whom clinical signs included relief of radicular pain with abduction of the shoulder. Of 22 patients requiring myelography for unremitting radicular pain, 15 experienced relief of pain with shoulder abduction. Thirteen patients showing this sign required surgery and all achieved a good result. Two patients were relieved with additional conservative measures. Pain relief obtained with this maneuver seems to occur by decreasing tension on the nerve root. This shoulder abduction relief sign has not been commonly elicited in the past, and the authors wish to bring attention to its value as an indicator of significant cervical extradural radicular compressive disease.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cervical spine
  • Nerve root tension
  • Radicular pain
  • Shoulder abduction

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  • Robin I. Davidson

  • Edward J. Dunn

  • Jeffrey N. Metzmaker

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