RADICULOPATHY

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION PROCEDURES

WHAT IS RADICULOPATHY AND WHAT ARE ITS CAUSES?

Radiculopathy refers to chronic nerve compression and irritation that has been left untreated. Radiculopathy is commonly caused by spinal stenosis, a ruptured disc, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, disc herniation, bone spurs (osteophytes), or thickening of surrounding ligaments.

WHAT THINGS CAN I DO TO PREVENT RADICULOPATHY?

The risk of developing radiculopathy 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 RADICULOPATHY, WHAT SYMPTOMS MIGHT I NOTICE?

A radiculopathy 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 also reveals additional information about the extent of the problem.

IF I HAVE RADICULOPATHY, WHAT SYMPTOMS MIGHT I NOTICE?

The symptoms of radiculopathy depend on 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, and sharp constant pain that may affect standing and sitting. 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 as well as problems with balance.

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 RADICULOPATHY?

A radiculopathy 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 RADICULOPATHY TREATED?

Radiculopathy 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 can be added if symptoms persist. If symptoms still persist, a minimally invasive surgical procedure may be recommended.

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