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Psychosocial factors associated with acute cervical radiculopathy

By M. Conradie, M. M. Bester and L. C. Crous


<p><em>Pain is an individual multi-dimensional experience, depending on contributions from the sensory, affective and cognitive dimensions. Only a few studies investigated the psychosocial factors associated with cervical radiculopathy (CR). These studies suggested that chronic CR affects functional abilities, emotional and cognitive states. This descriptive study determined (1) whether psychological factors were present, (2) the impact of pain on the ability to perform activities of daily living, and (3) the correlation between pain intensity, emotional state and functional abilities. The researcher, a physiotherapist, interviewed 21 subjects whose clinical diagnosis of acute CR made by a neurosurgeon [and confirmed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)], to determine the cognitive dimension. Three  standardized questionnaires, namely the Neck Disability Index (NDI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale and the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ long form) were administrated to assess the pain intensity, emotional state, total pain experience and functional abilities. Central tendencies were determined by calculating the mean and</em><br /><em>median. The Spearman rank order correlation coefficient test was performed to establish correlations between variables.</em><br /><em>Results suggested that radicular pain is not only a sensory experience since altered emotional and cognitive states</em><br /><em>were present, which frequently influenced functional abilities. Correlations existed between functional abilities, emotional state and total pain experience, as well as anxiety and depression levels. Higher anxiety than depression levels were found. Thoughts on beliefs and coping strategies were affected. We concluded that clinicians should also address the psychosocial factors and consider the functional impact of the disease, during the assessment and management of acute CR.</em></p

Topics: cervical radiculopathy, psychosocial factors, functional abilities, outcome measures, quality of life, Special situations and conditions, RC952-1245
Publisher: AOSIS
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.4102/sajp.v61i1.166
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