Radiculopathy Q & A

What is radiculopathy?

Also called a pinched nerve, radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root that branches from your spine becomes compressed or damaged.

When nerve roots get pinched, they may become irritated and inflamed, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area of your spine. The team at Specialists in Spine Surgery treats different types of radiculopathy, including:
• Lumbar radiculopathy in the lower back
• Cervical radiculopathy in the neck
• Thoracic radiculopathy in the upper back

Radiculopathy most often affects the lumbar spine and is least common in the thoracic spine.

What causes radiculopathy?

Most commonly, radiculopathy develops from changes to the tissues that surround your spinal nerve roots. These tissues include your back bones (vertebrae), tendons, and spinal discs. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, herniated discs, and bone spurs can all lead to radiculopathy.

What are the symptoms of radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy symptoms vary depending on the location of the pinched nerve. Common symptoms of radiculopathy include:
• Sharp pain that worsens with certain movements, such as coughing
• Shooting pain that radiates into your shoulder, arm, buttock, or leg
• Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs

Lumbar radiculopathy can also cause sciatica, which involves low back pain that shoots into your hip and down the back of your leg.

How is radiculopathy diagnosed and treated?

First, the team at Specialists in Spine Surgery checks your muscle strength and reflexes with a physical exam. They may also take tests, such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

Then, the team at Specialists in Spine Surgery explains your condition to you and describes every available treatment option so you can make an informed decision. Depending on the cause and location of your radiculopathy, treatment may include:
• Physical therapy
• Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss
• Oral or injected medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation

If your condition is severe or doesn’t improve with nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be necessary. The board-certified providers at Specialists in Spine Surgery utilize the most advanced techniques, including minimally invasive spine surgery.

For a conservative and patient-centered approach to treating radiculopathy, call Specialists in Spine Surgery TODAY!

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