Lumbar Radiculopathy: Everything You Need to Know


October 17, 2022

Lumbar radiculopathy is becoming a common disease among adults. It is likely to affect 3 to 5% of adults in their lifetime. Despite this condition being treatable, being aware of it can help you seek expert support and obtain appropriate treatment sooner. While most cases of lumbar radiculopathy heal without surgery, they do well with physical therapy. Physical therapists devise treatment plans to assist patients in lowering pain and resuming normal mobility. Here is everything you need to know about lumbar radiculopathy.

What is Lumbar Radiculopathy?

Symptoms, like pain and skin sensation to needles, are common when your nerve root is compressed, leading to radiculopathy. Compression of the spinal nerve occurs for various reasons, including herniated and degenerated disks.

The lower back is the lumbar area of the spine. And more specifically, it’s the area of the spine between your diaphragm and the sacrum. The lumbar is typically one of the most affected parts of the spine by radiculopathy, partly because it bears the most significant weight. The weight leads to the compression of the disks over time, putting the nerve roots at risk of irritation from other types of spinal tissue.

Lumbar radiculopathy, therefore, is a condition that causes damage to the nerve root in the spine’s lower back(lumbar), resulting in nerve pain that radiates down the legs causing sciatica. Facet arthritis, osteoarthritis, and spinal fractures are also causes of lumbar radiculopathy.

Symptoms to Look For

Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Paresthesia, tingling or numbness of the affected area
  • Radiating pain in the lower back, hips, and legs
  • Difficulty bending or rotating the back
  • Rare shooting pain
  • Weakness of the muscles that travel into the hip or leg
  • Limping when walking

Not everyone with lumbar radiculopathy will experience the symptoms soon enough. Others may take longer and only discover the condition when testing for other issues.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for lumbar radiculopathy are tasks that impose an excessive or repeated strain on the spine. People who engage in contact sports or heavy labor are more likely to develop lumbar radiculopathy than those leading a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include:

  • Back injuries
  • Obesity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Smoking
  • History of back trauma

 Treatment for Lumbar Radiculopathy

Several treatment options are available for anybody suffering from lumbar radiculopathy, including:

  • Lifestyle Changes: A doctor may recommend specific physical activities like stretching.
  • Physical Therapy: Includes massages, chiropractic methods, and acupuncture under professional guidance.
  • Medications: Steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and muscle relaxants are all potential medications.
  • Surgery: Surgery is typically the last option, mainly if the cause of the nerve root compression cannot be treated with drugs or physical therapy. For example, spinal stenosis is a possible cause of nerve root compression that may require surgery.

Benefits of Lumbar Radiculopathy Treatment

Many of our patients benefit from non-surgical treatment for lumbar radiculopathy in the following ways:

  • Improved mobility in the back and hip area
  • Removal of burning, stinging, or numbness in the hips and legs
  • Improved sleep due to reduced pain when sleeping in specific postures
  • Restoration of the normal strength to the feet, toes, and leg region

Who Are the Candidates?

Lumbar radiculopathy often affects people from age 30, but older individuals, particularly those aged 60 and above, are at a higher risk because their disks have had the most time to compress. People who have had accidents, including those who are overweight, may also risk getting lumbar radiculopathy.

The Bottom Line

Southeast Pain & Spine Care give the best pain relief for lumbar radiculopathy. We provide individualized care to help you enhance the quality of your health. Please fill out the form below to contact us for pain management that is both effective and reliable.

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