Radiculopathy is a condition that causes radiating pain into the extremities along the course of a spinal nerve root. Though radiculopathy can originate anywhere on the spine, the most common locations are the lower back (lumbar) and neck (cervical) region.
Radiculopathy is the result of compression of the nerves in the spinal cord. Compression may be caused by the following conditions of the spine:
- Bone spurs
- Cervical spondylotic myelopathy
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Other diseases such as diabetes that cause nerve damage
- Spinal tumors
Patients who place excessive or repetitive pressure on the spine are at risk for developing radiculopathy, especially for those with jobs involve intense manual labor or those who play contact sports. In addition, patients with a family history of radiculopathy or other spine conditions may be predisposed to the condition.
Symptoms of Radiculopathy
The symptoms of radiculopathy are dependent upon the location of the affected nerves. Symptoms commonly include pain, tingling and numbness in the arms or legs. Radicular pain that radiates down the buttocks and legs is known as sciatica (link to sciatica page).
How Is Radiculopathy Diagnosed?
After taking a thorough medical history and history of symptoms to determine the location of the pain, Dr. LaRocca will perform a physical exam. During the exam, Dr. Sandro LaRocca will be assessing reflexes and muscle strength for abnormalities. Diagnostic tests may also be recommended including:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan to check for compression of the spinal cord
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the soft tissues of the spine including nerves, ligaments and muscles
- X-rays to reveal any trauma, signs of osteoarthritis or infection
What Are The Treatments For Radiculopathy?
The experienced and professional team at New Jersey Back & Back Institute (NJNBI) offers treatment options including:
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (link to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion page) if radiculopathy occurs in the neck
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Epidural steroid injections
- Physical therapy