Sometimes called a pinched nerve, radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root or spinal nerve is compressed and causes pain or nerve damage in one of three sections of your spinal column.
Arizona’s finest neurological care is available at Dignity Health, including pinched nerve treatment in Arizona. Our Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s location has been named a top neurological hospital by US News and World Report. Use our online Find a Doctor tool to make an appointment today.
Symptoms of Herniated Disc, Pinched Nerve, & Radiculopathy
The most common signs and symptoms of radiculopathy are pain and abnormal nerve sensations restricted to specific areas of your back and body, depending upon which specific radicular nerve is compressed.
- Lumbar radiculopathy. The lumbar spine is part of your lower back and bears most of your weight. If nerves at the bottom of your lumbar spine are compressed, they can affect your sciatic nerve. You may feel sharp pain from your back to your buttocks all the way down the back of your leg to your foot. If the compressed nerve is in the upper part of your lumbar spine, you will feel pain symptoms on the front side of your legs and feet.
- Thoracic radiculopathy. The thoracic spine is the mid- and upper regions of your back. Thoracic radiculopathy may cause isolated pain in your chest or abdomen.
- Cervical radiculopathy. The cervical spine is at the top of the spinal column, making up your neck and supporting your head. Radiculopathy symptoms include isolated pain as well as pain all along the nerve, often in the arm or shoulder. Other symptoms include weakness, numbness, tingling, or burning pain.
Causes of Radiculopathy
The most common causes of radiculopathy are a herniated disc or bone spurs — the growth of new bone on the side of other bones. Under certain conditions, the soft center of the disc bulges out (herniates). The herniated disc can press against nerve roots causing:
- Considerable pain
- Weakness in the areas the nerve root supplies
Bone spurs along the spine are a consequence of age-related changes as the discs flatten out with time and vertebral bones rub together.
Pinched Nerve Treatment at Dignity Health
Non-prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)s may relieve your pain. Prescription medication can relieve severe pain. Physical therapy may also help. It strengthens your core muscles, which often helps relieve back strain and pain. If the pain is in your neck, you can wear a soft collar for a short time to support the area and limit painful movement.
If these treatments do not work, you might need steroid injections to reduce inflammation or spine surgery to correct the problem. Your spine specialist can discuss with you the goals, benefits, and risks of surgical treatment.
To help prevent radiculopathy:
- Practice good posture.
- Lift heavy objects with your legs, not your back.
- Stay fit.
Dignity Health provides leading herniated disc treatment and pinched nerve treatment in Arizona.