Facts

  • Typically resolves within 6 weeks to 3 months

Overview

Radiculopathy is due to a compressed nerve where it exits the spinal column. The problem occurs at or near the nerve root along the spine. Typically pain or other related symptoms are not localized but radiate to areas of the body served by the compressed nerve.

Types

  • Cervical Radiculopathy
  • Thoracic Radiculopathy
  • Lumbar Radiculopathy

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with Radiculopathy will vary depending on which nerves are affected.

Typical Symptoms Include

  • Pain
  • Tingling or numbness in legs or arms
  • Localized pain in neck or back
  • Sciatica

Some individuals may experience hypersensitivity to light touch where pain is felt or muscle weakness in muscles controlled by the affected nerves.

Diagnosis

Initially, a medical history and physical will be completed by the physician. The medical history will address questions regarding the type and location of your symptoms, how long the symptoms have been present, what makes the symptoms better or worse, and if you have any other medical problems. During the physical examination the physician will test muscle strength, reflexes, and sensation to determine the severity of the issue.

In order to determine the source of the radiculopathy, the physician may order an imaging test such as an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Cat Scan (CT) or Electromyogram (EMG).

Causes

Radiculopathy is due to the mechanical compression or irritation of nerves as they exit the spinal column. This can result from:

  • Disc herniation
  • Thickening of surrounding ligaments
  • Osteophytes in individuals with Osteoarthritis
  • Tumor
  • Scoliosis
  • Diabetes

Treatment

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Epidural Steroid Injections
  • Physical Therapy or Chiropractic Treatment