Correlation of magnetic resonance imaging findings and reported symptoms in patients with chronic cervical dysfunction

Rogelio Coronado, Beverly Hudson, Charles Sheets, Matthew Roman, Robert Isaacs, Jessie Mathers, Chad Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Information gathered from the patient history, physical examination, and advanced testing augments the decision-making process and is proposed to improve the probability of diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. However, these findings may provide inconsistent results and can lead to errors in decision-making. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between common clinical complaints and specific findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with chronic neck dysfunction. Forty-five English-speaking participants (25 female), with mean age of 52 (SD = 13.4), were evaluated by a neurosurgeon for complaints of symptoms related to the cervical spine. All participants answered a subjective questionnaire and received an MRI of the cervical spine. Cramer's V nominal correlation was performed to explore the relationship between the targeted variables. The correlation matrix calculations captured three significant findings. Evidence of spinal cord compression was significantly correlated to 1) anteroposterior canal diameter of less than or equal to 9 mm (r = .31; p<0.05) and 2) diminished subarachnoid fluid around the cord (r = .48; p<0.01). Report of loss of dexterity was significantly correlated with 3) report of lower extremity clumsiness (r = .33; p<0.05). In this study, no definitive relationships were found between the clinical complaints of neck pain, hand function, or clumsiness and specific MRI findings of spinal cord compression. Further research is needed to investigate the diagnostic utility of subjective complaints and their association with advanced testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-153
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical spine
  • Correlation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Myelopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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