Finding relief from radiculopathy pain
- Risk Factors
Radiculopathy pain is a symptom of a nerve disorder, often in the spine. In the event that a nerve becomes compressed, strained or pinched, a series of symptoms — which are known collectively as radiculopathy — may become present. Radiculopathy is a term for radiating symptoms which travel along the length of a nerve. These symptoms include numbness or tingling, muscle weakness and most commonly, pain.
Diagnosing the source of radiculopathy pain
Radiculopathy is usually identified when a physician diagnoses a spine condition related to aging or injury. This is done with a review of medical history and a physical examination to isolate the source of symptoms and rule out other causes. In some cases the, physician may also order imagery such as an MRI or CT scan to determine the cause of radiculopathic symptoms. Pain can be a symptom of a number of spinal problems, including:
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
- A pinched nerve stemming from an injury
- Foraminal stenosis, or narrowing of the nerve root exits from the spine
- Arthritis of the spine
Treating radiculopathy pain
Upon diagnosis, these symptoms can often be managed with a plan of conservative radiculopathy treatments — such as rest, hot and cold compression, physical therapy, pain medication and epidural steroid injections. If these treatments do not improve the traveling pain, numbness and limited mobility enough to resume normal activities, a surgical option may be considered.
Physicians usually wait to explore surgery because traditional open spine procedures are invasive, requiring a large incision to access the spine. To fully recover from this type of surgery requires overnight hospitalization and a long, often difficult recovery period. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery which uses a muscle-sparing, less than 1-inch incision. This leads to a shorter recovery period^ and less risk of complication than with a traditional procedure.