- Risk Factors
Radiculopathy is caused by the compression of a nerve root in the spinal column, which can have many causes itself. The primary role of the spine is to protect the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the body. It also supports the weight of the torso and head while still allowing for basic movement like bending, twisting and flexing.
Issues in the spine, like radiculopathy, are caused because pressure from weight and movement can cause the moving parts of the spine to wear out and become displaced. Some amount of spinal degeneration happens to everyone and isn’t necessarily painful, but symptoms can occur if there is enough narrowing of the spine to put pressure on any of the spinal nerves, including the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord.
Radiculopathy causes symptoms of traveling pain, tingling, numbness and weakness that begins in the neck or back and travels to an arm or leg. These symptoms can be debilitating, affecting every part of your life, from family time to work. Learning more about the underlying causes of these symptoms can help you work better with your doctor to get treatment for a return to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Spine conditions that cause radiculopathy
Specific radiculopathy causes are varied but typically originate from a number of spinal conditions that can result from aging or injury. These can include:
- Herniated disc — when the soft nucleus of a spinal disc pushes through a tear in the harder outer layer
- Spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal canal that increases the likelihood of pressure being placed on nerve roots
- Foraminal stenosis — narrowing of the small openings that nerve roots exit through
- Degenerative disc disease — age-related wearing of the spinal discs that can result in a range of issues
- Bone spurs — often caused by spinal arthritis, the outgrowths of bone can put pressure on nerves
Radiculopathy and the condition causing it is usually diagnosed after a patient complaining of symptoms goes to their doctor for a physical exam. Diagnosis can also require the taking of diagnostic imagery like an X-ray or MRI.
Most causes of radiculopathy can be treated with the help of a doctor and a prescription for conservative radiculopathy treatments. If weeks or months of this initial plan of care do not bring the relief necessary for a return to normal activity, surgery can start to become an option.
If you are experiencing chronic radiculopathy but have concerns about the invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery, contact the staff at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery leads to a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication than traditional open spine procedures. We can provide you with a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures.