Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr




Back and neck pain are common afflictions affecting millions of Americans every year. The economic impact of these impairments is billions of dollars annually. Although less than 5 percent of patients with pain in the lumbar spine experience radiculopathies, patients with radiculopathies still make up a considerable number of the clients seen by physical therapists. Correct diagnosis and treatment of these disorders is vital in limiting the length of time people are disabled. In order to improve the outcomes of conservative treatment, a proper understanding of the anatomy and biomechanics of the spine is requisite along with knowledge of the pathophysiology involved in various spinal disorders.

The purpose of this study is to assimilate the information available on lumbar and cervical disorders in the form of a literature review. This review will provide a working knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the spine along with a discussion on differential diagnosis through physical assessment. Different treatment options and approaches will also be presented in addition to the proper timing and use of the procedures for patients with radicular symptoms. The information provided in this review can be utilized by physical therapists to improve their ability to differentiate among spinal disorders as well as improve their decisions related to proper treatment of patients suffering from lumbar and cervical pain with radiculopathy.