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, non-surgical 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 a physician. After obtaining a medical history and performing a physical examination, a physician forms a list of possible causes. Then, using medical imaging technology such as an MRI or CT scan, she or he confirms the source of pain.
Some of the most common symptoms of radicular pain include:
- Unexpected muscle weakness or fatigue
- Chronic neck or back 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, non-surgical 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 suggested. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive surgical procedures may provide the pain relief you desire, and why our outpatient procedures are a more effective alternative to invasive traditional open spine surgery.