Publication Date

Spring 2015

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kali Ehlert, PT, DPT

Third Advisor

Russell E. Carter, PT, Ed.D.


Background and Purpose: Motor vehicle accidents with a whiplash mechanism of injury are one of the most common causes of neck injuries, with an incidence of perhaps 1 million per year in the United States. The purpose of this case report was to examine the progress of a patient with symptoms of cervical radiculopathy through a conservative treatment approach.

Case Description: The patient was a 41 year old (y.o.) male status/post (s/p) a rear end collision 1 month prior and was experiencing neck pain and radicular left arm and scapular numbness and tingling. Interventions occurred in an outpatient physical therapy clinic for 1 hour sessions 3 times per week.

Outcomes: Over the course of a 5 week treatment program, the patient improved significantly through intervention. Interventions included cervical retractions, isometric exercises, cervical traction, soft tissue mobilizations, and TENS therapy. The most significant improvements included abolishment of symptoms in the left arm and an NDI score of 13/100 (45/100 at initial evaluation).

Discussion: A conservative treatment program for a patient with cervical radiculopathy may be an effective option in reducing symptoms of pain and parasthesia (numbness and tingling) and improving cervical active range-of-motion (AROM) and postural stability.