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Validity of clinical tests in the diagnosis of root compression in cervical disc disease.

Spine 1989 March
The purpose of this study was to test the validity of three clinical tests (the neck compression, the axial manual traction, and the shoulder abduction test) in the diagnosis of root compression in 43 patients with cervical disc disease. The validity was investigated regarding radicular pain, neurologic signs, and root compression signs in myelography. All tests were highly specific for the validity parameters. However, the sensitivity was low; it ranged from 26 to 50% for the three single validity parameters in roots C6-8, and from 40 to 64% for combined neurologic and radiologic signs. It is concluded that, despite low sensitivity, these tests are a valuable aid in the clinical examination of a patient with neck and arm pain.

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