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Radiculopathy (Sciatica)

A relatively common condition, radiculopathy is characterized by radiating discomfort beginning in the lower back and running down one or both legs. Commonly known as sciatica, the condition’s symptoms can limit mobility and hinder quality of life. But with patient-centered treatment from Dr. LaRocca, you can get back to doing the things you love. With the latest in radiculopathy medicine, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. makes it easy for patients to receive the comprehensive care they deserve.

What Is Radiculopathy (Sciatica)?

Radiculopathy is often referred to as sciatica, as the condition affects the sciatic nerve located in the lower back and legs. Bone spurs and herniated discs are among the most frequent causes of radiculopathy. These abnormalities can pinch the spinal nerves that form the sciatic nerve, causing various types of discomfort. In other, rarer cases, a spinal tumor can compress your sciatic nerve.

Several risk factors increase your likelihood of developing radiculopathy, including:

  • Age
  • Diabetes, spinal cancer, and other diseases
  • Extended sitting and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Office work and other sedentary occupations

Signs and Symptoms

Typically, radiculopathy only affects one side of the body. However, depending on where the sciatic nerve has been affected, symptoms can impact both legs or even your feet and toes. The most common symptoms include:

  • Discomfort that extends from the lower back and down the leg
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness of the leg or foot
  • Hip pain
  • Pain in the buttocks or leg that worsens when sitting
  • Shooting pain that makes it hard to stand

The pain caused by radiculopathy can range from mild aching to chronic, debilitating discomfort that causes sudden, electricity-like jolts. Even if you only experience mild symptoms, it’s important to schedule a consultation with New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. to seek treatment right away.

How We Diagnose Radiculopathy

To reach a radiculopathy diagnosis, Dr. LaRocca will take your medical history and conduct a physical exam. During this exam, he may ask you to perform a range of tasks that demonstrate your reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength.

In addition to a physical exam, medical imaging can provide additional insight to support Dr. LaRocca’s diagnosis. These tests include:

  • X-ray: This method can help rule out broken bones or spinal issues, including bone spurs.
  • MRI or CT scan: This scan shows Dr. LaRocca if you have a herniated disc or other soft-tissue damage.
  • Electromyogram: This test can help unveil nerve and muscle damage.

Treatment Options

Many patients come to New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. because stretches, heating pads, ice packs, physical therapy, spinal injections, and other conservative treatments fail to provide relief. If this describes your experience with radiculopathy, Dr. LaRocca may recommend surgery.  

As an experienced surgeon board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. LaRocca performs minimally invasive laminectomy procedures to resolve the symptoms of radiculopathy. These procedures utilize smaller incisions than traditional surgeries to protect surrounding tissues, reduce pain and scarring, and speed recovery time. Patients also spend less time in the hospital after treatment with outpatient procedures available in many cases.

Schedule an Appointment Today

No one should live with the discomfort and mobility impairments caused by radiculopathy. If you’ve noticed symptoms of this condition or your physician recommends surgery, Dr. LaRocca can help. To learn more about sciatica treatment, contact us online or call 609-896-0020 to schedule a consultation at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. in Lawrenceville, Toms River, Mount Laurel, or North Brunswick.

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