Cervical Discogenic Pain Syndrome Follow-up

Updated: Aug 28, 2018
  • Author: Robert E Windsor, MD, FAAPMR, FAAEM, FAAPM; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Return to Play

Return to play following treatment for cervical discogenic pain syndrome (CDPS) is an individualized process. No specific time frame exists for a particular injury. A review of the literature by Morganti revealed that there was agreement with regard to the general requirements for return to play. [7] These included full and painless ROM, normal strength, a stable vertebral column, and adequate space for the neurolgic structures.

Players with compromise of C1-C2, acute fractures, residual neurologic deficit, spinal cord edema or deformity, acute disc herniation, or painful range of motion of the neck should not play collision sports. [7] Certainly, playing with improper technique such as spear-tackling, diving in unknown depths, diving while intoxicated, using a trampoline without a spotter, and checking from behind in hockey should be avoided.



Complications of surgical intervention include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, chronic dural leak, and scar-tissue formation surrounding or compressing nervous tissue. Fortunately, these complications do not happen often, but when they do, they may, alone or in combination, cause the patient to be in a worse condition than before having had surgery.



Injury prevention is accomplished best through good coaching, proper techniques of sport-specific activity, adequate preparticipation training, and appropriate safety measures, including proper protective equipment and adherence to the rules of the game.



Inform patients that the natural history of an acute radiculopathy suggests that most patients recover within several weeks to months and that surgery is generally not necessary. Educate patients with cervical discogenic pain syndrome (CDPS) regarding home program activities, which may be performed on a routine basis to help strengthen their spine and associated muscle groups, which may help prevent injury in the future.