Radiculopathy

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Diagnosing and treating Radiculopathy is our area of expertise:

Radiculopathy is a common condition that refers to any kind of pinched nerve root within the spine, which mightthen result in a variety of painful symptoms.

Nerve roots split off from the spinal cord as it travels through your vertebrae. Roots, in turn, anchor nerves, which may travel anywhere from a few millimeters to all the way down your arm or leg. For this reason, radiculopathy pain can–but doesn’t have to–travel.

You might be familiar with sciatica, the known disorder that causes shooting pain down the legs. what’s the distinction between sciatica and radiculopathy?

That’s a trick question: there’s no distinction. sciatica is another and more common name for lumbar radiculopathy, that is a pinched nerve root in your lower back.

More About Radiculopathy:

 

The spine itself has an S-curve to it that enables for better balance and shock absorption throughout the body. There are 5 totally different regions of the spine, that you must be aware of once attempting to learn more concerning radiculopathy. These 5 regions embrace the:

  • Tail bone
  • Sacrum, which is around the hips
  • lower back or lumbar area
  • mid back or thoracic area
  • neck or cervical spine

Radiculopathy can occur in any of the 5 regions of the spine. Each of the thirty-three bones at intervals your spine receives cushion from an intervertebral disc, which keeps the vertebrae from hitting each other. Once you suffer from some type of injury, the intervertebral discs can suffer from an injury that causes pinching of any nerve roots within the immediate neighborhood. Once these nerve roots become pinched, you’ll officially be affected by radiculopathy. Whereas injuries are the main reason that someone will suffer from radiculopathy, it’s vital to grasp that the nerve will become pinched for a good vary of reasons. You’re more likely to experience radiculopathy between the ages of 30-50. If you ever feel like you will be affected by radiculopathy, you’ll need to contact a doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated, the symptoms of this condition can worsen over time.

What are the symptoms?

 

The symptoms that you experience when affected by Radiculopathy mostly depend upon which area of the spine that the pinched nerve has occurred in. Even though the symptoms are similar in every area of the spine, there are some key differences that you just should be aware of. Since the nerves inside your spinal cord travel over to different areas of your body, the location of the pinched nerve on your spine plays an enormous role in what forms of symptoms you experience as well as which areas of the body these symptoms have an effect on. Cervical radiculopathy refers to any pinched nerve that’s situated within the cervical spine, that is the upper neck. The symptoms associated with this kind of radiculopathy include pain inside your shoulder, neck, arms, and upper back. It’s also possible for you to experience weakness and numbness in these areas, that is usually felt on only 1 side of the body.

When it comes to radiculopathy within the mid-back or thoracic region of the spine, it’s possible for you to experience a considerable amount of pain inside the torso or chest. This is often a very uncommon type of radiculopathy which will also include such symptoms as tingling, numbness, and burning pain, the latter of which might be felt in your abdomen, ribs, or sides. As for radiculopathy within the lower back, the symptoms of this condition include numbness and pain at intervals your lower back, legs, hips, buttocks, and feet. A number of additional kinds of symptoms that can occur with all types of radiculopathy include:

  • Sharp pains once you sit
  • Numbness in your back, legs, or feet
  • Reflex changes
  • Pain that worsens once you move your neck or head
  • Pain that worsens once you walk or sit for long periods of time

 

How is Radiculopathy Diagnosed?

 

When you schedule a meeting with your doctor because you’re experiencing symptoms of Radiculopathy, it’s possible that they’ll perform a range of tests so as to make certain that the pain and alternative symptoms are being caused by this condition as opposed to another form of disease. In some cases, the testing may be in depth. However, alternative situations might solely require a quick check or 2 before the doctor is ready to identify that you just are indeed affected by radiculopathy. The most common forms of tests are physical examinations which will check your reflexes and muscle strength. If specific movements induce pain or a reduction in movement, it’s going to be possible for your doctor to link this pain to an affected nerve.

Once the doctor believes that you may be experiencing a case of Radiculopathy, they’ll provide you with numerous imaging tests so as to take a better and more careful look at the area. These tests will include MRI scans, CT scans, and X-rays, each of which uses a unique form of imaging. Whereas the problems brought about by Radiculopathy are generally muscle issues, it’s possible for them to be neurological ones, which is something which will be determined through the administration of nerve conduction exams. Once all of the right testings has been administered, the doctor is able to diagnose whether or not or not you’re affected by a pinched nerve.

What are the Causes of a Radiculopathy?

 

Since Radiculopathy may be brought about by common injuries or mere strenuous movements, it’s not always possible to pinpoint a reason for the pinched nerve. However, there is a spread of noted injuries and conditions that may cause Radiculopathy within the spine, that include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Tumors within the spine
  • Compression fractures within the spine
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes

There also are a range of additional risk factors that may heighten your chances of developing a pinched nerve. These risk factors include a poor posture, aging, being obese or overweight, repetitive motions, and lifting weights improperly throughout your workout routine. While these factors can increase the chances that you suffer from Radiculopathy at one time or another, it’s definitely possible that you will never have a pinched nerve.

How is Radiculopathy Treated?

 

Conservative options:
Conservative treatment options include nerve root blocks and steroid injections. These are designed to supply temporary relief (up to 1 year), and you may elect to have the procedure done multiple times. Alternative conservative methods may include the placement of a spinal cord stimulator–or STIM–which is intended to not correct the underlying degeneration, however, to minimize the pain the condition causes.

Decompression:
Minimally invasive decompression surgery aims to alleviate pressure on the nerves of the spine. This pressure is usually caused by stenosis, bulging or herniated discs, and more. Relieving this pressure may be achieved by reducing or removing soft tissue (disc material or scar tissue) or bone (bone spurs, a section of the lamina or foramina) to decompress the affected nerve. Once the compression is caused by soft tissue material, a surgical laser may be used to shrink the impinging material.

Fusion/Stabilization:
Fusion surgeries are similar in goal–to remove broken disc tissue and fuse the bones together–but differ in approach, together with the use of specialized hardware to reinforce stability, and the location used to gain access to the spine. A related procedure is an artificial disc replacement, in which a broken cervical disc is replaced with an artificial disc, and therefore the vertebrae aren’t fused.

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