By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist

Radiculopathy of the Spine


Anatomy of the Spine: Radiculopathy


Lower back pain affects about 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Associated leg pain, or radiculopathy, occurs in fewer instances, but can be bothersome and debilitating. There are a variety of reasons in which leg pain can occur, some of which originate at the spine.

Radiculopathy is leg pain that follows a dermatomal pattern, and refers into the legs. Dermatomes are specific areas in the body that have nerves, from the spinal cord, going to that specific area of the body. Leg pain is caused by compression of the nerve, at the spinal root in the lumbar spine, resulting in associated leg pain. Some other common causes include bone spurs on the spine, tumors, scoliosis diabetes, or trauma.

Common Causes of Radiculopathy

Common symptoms of radiculopathy include pain down the leg, numbness, tingling or weakness along the course of the nerve. In more long term or severe cases, chronic pain can result. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than the normal healing time for an injury, or no more than 3 to 6 months. Symptoms include those of radiculopathy, but can also include dull muscle aches and burning sensations.

Diagnosis of Radiculopathy

Diagnosis of the cause and origin of the leg pain requires a detailed patient history and examination. Prior to consulting with your doctor, it is best to keep a journal of the severity of symptoms, how long they have been present, what makes them better or worse and what other medical problems are present. The more specific information you can give the doctor, the better they will be able to localize the exact nerve that may be causing your symptoms.

Treatment of Radiculopathy

Treatment for radiculopathy and chronic pain widely depend on the patient. Most people obtain satisfactory relief of their symptoms with anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. Acupuncture, yoga and spinal injections are other avenues that may provide relief. If these symptoms sound familiar to you, consult Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute to help you get on the road to recovery!  If you want to learn more about low back pain, go to: https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/low-back-pain


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JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

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