Radiculopathy is a disease affecting the root of a nerve. Most often, it is caused by a pinched nerve in the spine. Although it can occur in any part of the spine, radiculopathy is most common in the lower back (lumbar radiculopathy) or in the neck (cervical radiculopathy). Although it is possible to suffer from radiculopathy in the middle back (thoracic radiculopathy), it is less common.
Common Types of Radiculopathy
There are several different types of radiculopathy, including:
Risk Factors for Radiculopathy
Your chances of developing radiculopathy increase based on your level of physical activities as well as other risk factors. If you meet any of the criteria below, you may be at greater risk of developing radiculopathy:
- Participation in activities that repeatedly place large loads of weight on the spine, such as heavy labor
- Participation in contact sports
- Family history of radiculopathy or other spine disorders
- Tumor or infection of the spine
- Inflammation due to trauma or degeneration
Symptoms of Radiculopathy
Symptoms of radiculopathy can vary depending on which nerve is affected. If you are experiencing cervical radiculopathy, your symptoms may be present in the neck and arms. If you have lower back radiculopathy, known as lumbar radiculopathy, your symptoms may exist in the buttocks and legs. In the rare case you are suffering from thoracic radiculopathy, your symptoms may surround the chest and abdomen. Most who suffer from radiculopathy experience the following symptoms:
- Localized back pain or neck pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Weakness in the arms and legs
- Sciatic nerve pain
Your physician will complete a physical examination and take your complete medical history. Be prepared to answer questions on your pain, including location of your symptoms. Once your doctor knows the location of your symptoms, they can work to localize the nerve that is causing your pain. At times, imaging tests may be necessary, such as an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan. Your doctor may also order a nerve conduction study, known as an electromyogram (EMG) to record the electrical activity along the nerve.
Treatment of Radiculopathy
Most often, radiculopathy will resolve within 6 weeks to 3 months using conservative treatment methods. Treatment options include:
- Medications for pain
- Physical Therapy
- Chiropractic care
If you are suffering from radiculopathy, our team of physicians will perform a detailed examination and recommend the most effective treatment for your specific case. Our goal is to have you pain free in as little time as possible.
Contact Us For More Information
If you are experiencing radiculopathy, you have come to the right place. Our skilled physicians will diagnose, treat, and help to manage your symptoms. Learn more about our practice or request an appointment today.