RADICULITIS

NERVE PRESSURE AND DISC HERNIATION

WHAT IS RADICULITIS AND WHAT ARE ITS CAUSES?

Radiculitis refers to the compression of a nerve root as it exits the spinal column. Radiculitis can be caused by many conditions that place pressure on the spinal nerves. Some of the more common conditions include disc herniation, bone spurs (osteophytes), and thickening of surrounding ligaments. Less common conditions that cause radiculitis include spinal stenosis, damaged intervertebral discs, degeneration of the spine, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, diabetes, ruptured discs, and vertebral fractures.

WHAT THINGS CAN I DO TO PREVENT RADICULITIS?

The risk of developing radiculitis can be reduced by maintaining the health of the spine. This can be done by maintaining a healthy body weight, not sitting in one place for prolonged periods of time, using chairs with firm back support, exercising regularly, and maintaining core strength.

IF I HAVE RADICULITIS, WHAT SYMPTOMS MIGHT I NOTICE?

The symptoms of radiculitis depend of where in the spinal column the compression occurs. If it is in the lumbar region, radicular pain includes stiffness in the legs and thighs, muscle weakness, sharp constant pain that may affect standing and sitting, and may affect balance. In the neck, radicular pain includes pain in the neck, shoulder, arms and hands. It can also include muscle weakness and loss of coordination with arms and hands.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR?

A doctor should be consulted when the radicular pain is affecting your quality of life.

HOW CAN A PHYSICIAN DETERMINE IF I HAVE RADICULITIS?

A radiculitis diagnosis can be suspected when a physician evaluates symptoms and performs a comprehensive physical examination. This diagnosis is confirmed with a MRI or CT scan which reveals additional information about the extent of the problem.

HOW IT RADICULITIS TREATED?

Radiculitis is treated by one or a combination of the following: over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, rest, ice, heat, and physical therapy. Pain management injections may be added if symptoms persist. If symptoms still persist, then a minimally invasive surgical procedure may be recommended.

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