Lumbar radiculopathy originates in the lower back. “Lumbar” refers to the five large, relatively flexible vertebrae toward the bottom of the spine that bear much of the body’s weight. “Radiculopathy” refers to pain, tingling, numbness and/or weakness associated with an impinged or irritated nerve root. By definition, radicular pain “travels” along the nerve fiber to wherever that nerve travels in the body.
The term lumbar radiculopathy sometimes is used interchangeably with the more familiar term sciatica. This refers to the symptoms felt when there is impingement or irritation of the sciatic nerve, a large nerve fiber that begins within the L1-5 vertebrae, runs through the pelvic region, into each leg, and to the feet. The most common symptom associated with sciatica is severe radiculopathy (or traveling pain) felt through the buttocks, leg, and soles of the feet, usually only on one side of the body.
Spinal conditions that could produce lumbar radiculopathy include:
- Arthritis of the spine
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Foraminal stenosis
- Compression fracture
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
The symptoms associated with lumbar radiculopathy usually can be managed using conservative, or non-surgical, treatments such as physical therapy, exercise, pain medications, massage, or rest. However, if weeks or months of conservative therapy prove ineffective, a doctor may suggest surgery as an option.
If this is the case, consider Laser Spine Institute (LSI) as an alternative to traditional open back surgery. The award-winning surgeons at LSI use gentle, endoscopic techniques to perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that remove the source of nerve impingement and alleviate the symptoms associated with lumbar radiculopathy. Contact LSI for a free review of your MRI or CT scan and to learn how to rediscover a life without pain.