Radiculopathy is also known as a pinched nerve in the spine. It occurs when surrounding muscles, bones, tendons or cartilage deteriorate or become injured. Trauma may cause these tissues to change position to produce extra pressure on nerve roots. Lumbar (the lower back), cervical (the neck), and thoracic (middle portion of the spine), are the three sections of the spinal column in which radiculopathy can occur.
Symptoms of Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy symptoms may include sharp traveling pain from the back to the foot, numbness of the skin in the leg or foot, weakness in the neck, arm, back, or leg, changes in touch sensation, loss of reflexes, and hypersensitivity.
X-rays are a sufficient way of showing bone alignment or narrowing of discs, which is associated with Radiculopathy. MRI’s can also be conducted to examine soft tissue, spinal cord, and nerve roots. Additionally, and EMG can measure electrical impulses of muscles when at rest to find evidence of damage.
Non-surgical medical approaches, including medication, offer a conservative method for treating Radiculopathy. Treatment methods may involve muscle relaxants, oral corticosteroids, or spinal corticosteroid injections. In more severe instances, surgery is considered to alleviate pressure on the affected nerve. It is also used when multiple nerves are affected or where nerve function is diminishing, despite conservative medical management.
Herniated discs, for example, may be treated with a cervical or lumbar microdiscectomy. Spinal stenosis may be treated with a decompression surgery like a laminectomy.
Our experienced spine specialists are available for in-depth discussions on both surgical and nonsurgical options, tailoring recommendations to suit individual cases and determine the most suitable course of action.