What is Radiculopathy?
Each region of the spine has a specific name and function. They are the:
- cervical spine or neck
- thoracic spine or mid back
- lumbar spine or lower back
- sacrum, connecting the spine to the hips
- coccyx or tail bone
Each vertebra is cushioned from its neighbor by an intervertebral disc. This protects the vertebrae from rubbing on top of each other.
When injuries occur, these intervertebral discs can become damaged and cause compression or irritation of a nearby nerve root. Depending on which nerve is compressed, a person can experience pain in a variety of locations throughout the body.
People can develop radiculopathy as the result of an injury, or it may occur for no apparent reason. Those individuals aged 30 to 50 years old are most likely to experience radiculopathy, in the cervical and lumbar spine areas.
Because the nerves extending from the spinal cord travel to different parts of the body, people will experience different symptoms, depending on where in the spine the nerve compression occurs.
Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve in the neck or upper back is compressed. The symptoms associated with cervical radiculopathy include:
- pain in the neck, shoulder, upper back, or arm
- weakness or numbness typically experienced on one side
A person may experience pain in the chest and torso when the nerve compression or irritation occurs in the mid back region.
Symptoms associated with thoracic radiculopathy include:
- burning or shooting pain in the rib, side, or abdomen
- numbness and tingling
A person may experience pain in the low back, legs, and hip region when the nerve compression or irritation occurs in the lower part of the back.
Lumbar radiculopathy is also known as sciatica, and symptoms include pain and numbness in the low back, hips, buttock, leg, or foot. Symptoms are typically made worse with long periods of sitting or walking.
Other generalized symptoms of radiculopathy may include:
- sharp pain starting in the back, extending to the foot
- sharp pain with sitting or coughing
- numbness or weakness in the leg and foot
- numbness or tingling in the back or leg
- sensation or reflex changes, hypersensitivity
- pain in the arm or shoulder
- worsening pain with movement of the neck or head
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call our office now to schedule an appointment and get the relief that you deserve.