Are tender points associated with cervical radiculopathy?

Rama Letchuman, Ralph E. Gay, Randy A. Shelerud, Lisa A. VanOstrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if there is an association between cervical radiculopathy and tender spots in the neck and upper extremity on the side of radiculopathy. Design: Prospective cross-sectional study. Setting: Outpatient spine clinic within an academic institution. Participants: Convenience sample of 16 subjects with unilateral cervical radiculopathy. Twelve subjects had C7 radiculopathy and 4 had C6 or C8 radiculopathy. Intervention: Bilateral pain-pressure threshold measurement (14 muscles) of the neck and upper extremity. Main Outcome Measure: Side-to-side difference in pain-pressure threshold. Results: Differences in frequency of tender spots were found only in the deltoid and flexor carpi radialis. Overall, more tender spots were found on the side of radiculopathy (75 vs 34, P<.01). Among subjects with C7 radiculopathy, the number of tender spots in C7 innervated muscles was greater on the side of radiculopathy (23 vs 7, P<.02). In contrast, no significant difference in the number of tender spots between sides was found when only non-C7 innervated muscles (P>0.1) were considered. Conclusions: Cervical radiculopathy was associated with increased tender spots on the side of radiculopathy, with predilection toward muscles innervated by the involved nerve root.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1337
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Myofascial
  • Radiculopathy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Trigger points

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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