Radiculopathy is a pinched nerve root in the spine. It is caused by deteriorating or injured surrounding bones, cartilage, muscle, or tendons. The neck and the lower back region of the spine are most prone to this symptom.
It is known for osteoarthritis, herniated discs, ligament thickening and bone spurs to cause radiculopathy. The pain radiculopathy causes can be felt and could travel through connected nerves in the body. This results in numbness, weakness, and pain. The condition can usually be reversed with timely and appropriate treatment.
Radiculopathy symptoms can vary depending on the location of the nerve compression. Lumbar radiculopathy causes discomfort that could radiate anywhere from the hips down to the leg. Cervical radiculopathy, on the other hand, causes muscle weakness or pain anywhere from the neck to the arms. Less common areas can also be affected by the symptoms, including the chest/torso. These symptoms can limit movements and could cause mild to severe aches.
Burak Ozgur, MD initiates the diagnosis by studying each patient’s medical history and by conducting a physical test. Imaging may be requested to determine the exact location and how serious the symptoms are:
- X-ray – used to detect herniated discs, osteoarthritis and other causes of trauma.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – used to show detailed images of nerve damage or tumors that cannot be seen on an x-ray.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) scan – used to create the spine’s three-dimensional (3D) image
Conservative treatments or non-surgical treatments are often used to improve the overall condition of the affected nerves and also to relieve certain degrees of pain. Patients are normally asked to refrain from any physically demanding activities.
The non-surgical treatments may include:
- Injections (steroids)
- Physical therapy
- Use of support braces
- Anti-inflammatory medications
If conservative methods could not treat the symptoms, surgical treatments are also available for severe cases of radiculopathy. The most common way of decompressing nerves is by conducting an Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion (ACDF), a method used to detach any part of the disc that is compressing the nerve.
Other surgical methods may include:
- Arthoplasty – artificial disc replacement
- Microdiscectomy – used to eliminate the swelling caused by the herniated portion of the disc
- Posterior cervical laminectomy – parts of the vertebra that is causing compression is removed and replaced with bone grafts to create neck stability.
Burak Ozgur, MD can address your degenerative disc disease with minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190
or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.