Radiculopathy is a condition that occurs when spinal nerve roots are compressed in the neck or back. The nerve roots eventually form larger nerves that travel to the muscles and skin in the arms and legs. When nerve roots are under pressure, they can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the extremities. Sometimes, when there is enough pressure to cause nerve root damage, patients may experience weakness in the arms and legs.
Types of Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy is categorized into three different subtypes depending on where in the spine the compressed nerve root is located.
- Cervical Radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy occurs in the cervical area of the spine, which is located in the neck directly below the skull. Cervical radiculopathy may manifest as neck and shoulder pain, but can also extend down into the arms, hands, and fingers.
- Thoracic Radiculopathy. Thoracic radiculopathy occurs in the thoracic region of the spine, which is located directly below the cervical spine in the mid-back. This is the area of the spine that supports the rib cage. Radiculopathy in the thoracic area can cause pain in the upper back that extends to the front of the body.
- Lumbar Radiculopathy. Lumbar radiculopathy occurs in the lumbar region of the spine, which is located below the thoracic vertebrae and above the pelvic area. Lower back and leg pain are the most common symptoms associated with lumbar radiculopathy. Hips, buttocks, legs, and feet can be affected.
What is the best treatment for radiculopathy?
In most cases, radiculopathy can be managed and treated without the need for surgery. Treatment will largely depend on the severity of radiculopathy pain and symptoms. Some of the interventional pain management techniques that The Spine & Sports Health Center uses to treat radiculopathy include:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Nerve blocks
- Spinal cord stimulation, if all else fails
In some cases, we may also recommend additional treatment modalities, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy.
Your First Stop for Radiculopathy Treatment
The Spine & Sports Health Center should be your first stop for radiculopathy pain. Request an appointment with one of our pain management doctors today.