Radiculopathy is a dysfunction of the spinal root/s that causes pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the affected arm or leg, depending on which nerve is involved. It is associated with most cases of acute and chronic lower back pain. The Radiculopathy present in the lumbar roots, produces sciatica and is typically caused by a nerve compression. This causes pain mostly in the leg rather than in the lumbar spine, which is called “referred pain”.
The condition itself does not cause back pain but nerve root impingement, disc herniation and facet atrophy that cause back pain.
Radiculopathy can be caused by cervical or lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disease of the spine, inflammation or irritation of the nerve root(s), or spinal stenosis.
The most usual causes of Radiculopathy are:
- Disc herniation (lumbar or cervical)
- Degenerative disease of the spine
- Inflammation or irritation of the nerve root/s
- Spinal stenosis
- Fracture in the spine
- Hot or cold sensations (in the leg)
- Pain in the lower back, legs or feet
- Lumbar muscle spasms
- Feelings of electrical shock
- Epidural steroid injection
- Physical therapy
- Oral corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Electrical Nerve Stimulation