The diagnosis of radiculopathy is based on your medical history and a physical examination, including evaluation of nerve function (testing reflexes, strength, and sensation). The provider may move the neck, arms, back, and legs in certain ways.

An X-ray is often performed and can show if there is arthritis and degenerative changes in the spine or if the vertebra is out of alignment. An X-ray may show a fracture of the spine as well.

Sometimes more advanced imaging of the spine is recommended (such as a CT scan or MRI) to evaluate for a disc herniation and nerve compression and to rule out other causes of radiculopathy.

An EMG (electromyogram) is a needle test that can be done to assess the health of muscles and nerves and can show evidence of a nerve problem such as radiculopathy.

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