Radicular pain, or radiculitis, refers to the pain-related symptoms caused by the inflammation of a spinal nerve root in the spinal column. Radiculopathic symptoms vary widely from patient to patient and depend on the specific location of the nerve compression. This is why an impinged spinal nerve can actually be responsible for numb fingertips or debilitating leg pain. Treatment of this condition is usually contingent on alleviating the source of nerve inflammation., This can usually be accomplished with conservative, nonsurgical treatment, but does occasionally require surgery.
The first step toward treating radicular pain is to fully understand the various conditions that cause spinal nerve root inflammation. Determining the cause of radicular symptoms usually requires a visit to the doctor. After obtaining a medical history and performing a physical examination, the physician forms a list of possible causes. Then using medical imaging technology, such as an MRI or CT scan, he confirms the source of pain.
Some of the most common symptoms of radicular pain include:
- Unexpected muscle weakness or fatigue
- Chronic back or neck pain, stiffness, or soreness
- A numb or tingling feeling in the extremities
- Sciatic pain
- Loss of reflexes or diminished motor skills
- Incontinence (in emergencies)
Radicular pain can normally be treated with a series of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Physical therapy, pain medication, and heat/cold therapy are particularly effective. Anything that alleviates strain on the spine and/or manages pain may be helpful . If, after several weeks of treatment, your radicular pain has not subsided, surgery may be indicated. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive surgical techniques may provide the pain relief you desire without invasive open back surgery.