Capital Pain Consultants
Chronic Pain Specialists & Pain Management Specialists located in Sacramento, CA
Radiculopathy is a term for spinal nerve damage that causes pain, weakness, and other distressing symptoms. If you have a condition that involves radiculopathy, Sharon Leano, MD, and James Kim, MD, of Capital Pain Consultants in Sacramento, California, can help. In addition to back and leg or arm pain, radiculopathy can result in loss of function. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, call Capital Pain Consultants to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today.
Radiculopathy Q & A
What is radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy is a term for the symptoms that arise when a nerve in your spine comes under pressure. In addition to pain that’s often sharp and shooting, or like an electric shock, radiculopathy can cause unpleasant sensations like tingling, prickling, and burning. You might develop areas of numbness or weakness, and in some cases, loss of function.
The nerves involved are the ones branching off from your spinal cord, the central nerve hub in your body inside the spinal canal. These nerves exit your spine through gaps called foramen in your vertebrae and travel throughout your body.
When you suffer an injury, these peripheral nerves send pain messages back to your spinal cord and brain. You can develop radiculopathy if something pinches, presses on, or damages a nerve as it passes from the spinal cord through the foramen.
What part of the spine does radiculopathy affect?
Radiculopathy can affect any part of your spine. However, it’s most likely to occur in your lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine), and is less common in the upper back (thoracic spine).
Cervical radiculopathy in your neck typically causes symptoms that spread into your shoulders, arms, and sometimes your hands. Lumbar radiculopathy affects your hips, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica, the most common form of lumbar radiculopathy, is a frequent cause of shooting leg pain.
Why would I have radiculopathy?
The nerve compression that leads to radiculopathy comes from an alteration in the structures that make up your spine. These changes could be due to age-related deterioration, a spinal misalignment, or an injury, with common causes that include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Facet joint arthritis
- Bone spurs
- Thickened ligaments
To find the cause of your radiculopathy, your provider at Capital Pain Consultants needs to know about your symptoms and how they started. They also look through your medical history and complete a thorough physical exam.
You might need to undergo additional diagnostic tests, such as a spinal X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies, which measure how well your nerves work, can also be valuable in evaluating radiculopathy.
How is radiculopathy treated?
Depending on what’s causing your radiculopathy and the severity of your symptoms, your provider at Capital Pain Consultants might recommend treatments such as:
- Activity modification
- Pain relief medication
- Muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy
- Epidural steroid injections
- Facet joint injections
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
For most people with radiculopathy, treatments like these relieve inflammation and nerve pressure, effectively reducing symptoms. If your pain is still severe or persists despite these interventions, Capital Pain Consultants offers minimally invasive procedures like spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal pain pump implantation.
To find a solution for radiculopathy, call Capital Pain Consultants today or book an appointment online.
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