A Patient’s Guide to Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy refers to symptoms caused by the condition that compresses or irritates the nerve roots in the spinal column. Whether in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine, inflammation can occur anywhere along the spinal column. The compressed nerve can originate from several different spinal conditions, such as stenosis, bone spurs, or disc herniation. Furthermore, radiculopathy can result from the thickening of spinal ligaments or the degeneration of spinal discs. Luckily, patients can manage their radicular symptoms through a combination of treatments guided by a board-certified spine surgeon.
What Do Radicular Symptoms Feel Like?
Radicular pain can vary depending on the amount of compression on the nerve and the location in the spinal column. For example, compressed nerves exiting from the cervical spine control the muscles in the neck, arms, and hands and may impact sensation in those areas. The compressed nerves alongside the thoracic spine impact the chest and abdomen area while compressed lumbar nerves typically affect the buttocks, legs, and feet, and ankle muscles. Regardless of the location, prevalent radiculopathy symptoms can include pain, numbness, burning, weakness, pins and needles sensation, or tingling. Patients may also exhibit a combination of the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain in the back, arms, legs, or shoulders that worsens with physical activity
- Localized neck or back pain
- Muscle weakness or a loss of reflexes
- Numbness of the skin in the arms or legs
- Hypersensitivity to light touch
If you begin experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a board-certified spine specialist, who can take the correct steps to properly diagnose radiculopathy. A physical examination, as well as imaging tests and nerve conduction studies, will yield a correct diagnosis so that patients can begin a proper course of treatment to return to a healthier lifestyle.
How Do You Relieve Radiculopathy?
Many patients can reduce painful radiculopathy symptoms through non-surgical treatments depending upon the location and cause of the condition. Non-surgical treatments can start to improve patients’ symptoms within six weeks and may include:
- Anti-inflammatory or nerve medications
- Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles and prevent future damage
- Relaxation and avoidance of activities that place strain on the neck or back
- Chiropractic/Acupuncture treatment
When patients’ symptoms fail to improve or respond to non-surgical treatment, your board-certified spine doctor may recommend epidural steroid injections to reduce inflammation and any additional pain. As a last resort, minimally invasive surgery can be an effective treatment option for patients to consider. To find out the right treatment option for you, contact the board-certified spine surgeons at New Jersey Spine Specialists today.
Is Radiculopathy Permanent?
When diagnosed and treated early, board-certified spine doctors can perform minimally invasive techniques to reduce or eliminate painful symptoms. These minimally invasive techniques come with less postoperative pain, leading to quicker recovery times. In general, radicular symptoms improve within 6 to 12 weeks.
But without proper treatment, patients have a higher risk for developing more severe symptoms, which can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. While rare, untreated radiculopathy can cause long-term complications like paralysis, bowel or bladder dysfunction, or a level of permanent numbness, which is why an early consultation is critical.
Patients typically respond well to non-surgical options and can see optimal results when surgical procedures become necessary. Don’t delay pain relief any longer! Schedule a consultation with the spine surgeons at NJSS today!
Receive Radiculopathy Treatment at NJSS
The board-certified physicians at New Jersey Spinal Specialists have decades of extensive experience with all standard and advanced techniques for treating patients suffering from radiculopathy and other spinal conditions. With our renowned staff and state-of-the-art equipment, patients turn to New Jersey Spine Specialists for the best in advanced spinal care.
By diagnosing and providing superior treatment options and compassionate care, patients of NJSS can begin to resume daily activities without painful radicular symptoms. The NJSS team also offers telemedicine services to provide patients with real‐time, two‐way communication through secure online virtual sessions.
Schedule an immediate appointment at our offices in Montclair and Summit by dialing 908 608-9619.
*Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318465
*Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/radiculopathy