Radiculopathy Q & A
What is Radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy appears when one of the nerves in your spine is compressed or pinched. The condition can occur in any one of the 33 vertebrae that make up your spine and protect your spinal cord.
What are the Symptoms of Radiculopathy?
Depending on the site of your radiculopathy, you can experience a wide range of symptoms throughout your body, including:
- Sharp, burning, or aching pain
- Radiating pain in your arms and legs
- Numbness, including tingling or feeling like a hand or foot has “fallen asleep”
The nerves in your spinal cord branch out and extend throughout your body. As a result, radiculopathy can cause symptoms anywhere. For example, if you have a pinched nerve in your lower back, you could develop sciatica — pain, weakness, and numbness that extends from your lower back down one or both of your legs.
What Causes Radiculopathy?
A wide range of conditions and injuries contribute to radiculopathy, including:
- A herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fractures
Your risk of radiculopathy increases as you age. Factors such as weight, posture, and repetitive motions can also lead to spinal nerve compression.
How is Radiculopathy Diagnosed?
The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center diagnose radiculopathy with a physical exam and a series of tests to find the pinched nerve. For example, they can order X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to examine your spine and the supporting muscles and connective tissue. They also use electromyography and nerve conduction studies to test your nerve function.
How is Radiculopathy Treated?
The doctors at Comprehensive Pain Center offer customized treatments to address your specific needs. These can include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs — aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and some prescription drugs)
- Spinal steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Hot and cold therapies
If noninvasive treatments don’t reduce your pain and other symptoms, your doctor could recommend surgery. For example, if you have bone spurs on your spine, your doctor could remove the spurs to reduce the pinching of the nerve.
If you have pain, weakness, or numbness that doesn’t ease or go away after a few days of rest and at-home care, call Comprehensive Pain Center or make an appointment online today.