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What is Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy refers to a condition in which one or more nerves or nerve roots are irritated by impingement, causing pain.

Radiculopathy occurs when nerve roots, also called “radicular nerves,” are damaged for any reason. Nerve roots are the segment of a nerve that exits the central nervous system, allowing the rest of the nerve to travel to different regions of the body. A fairly common condition, radiculopathy may affect any region of the spine, but the most commonly affected area is the cervical, or neck, region.

Symptoms of Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy produces symptoms that vary according to the location of your irritated or compressed nerve tissue. Radiculopathy pain may be progressive, meaning it worsens with time. Common symptoms include:

    Common symptoms of Radiculopathy include:
  • In the lumbar spine: pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. If impingement affects one of the roots of your sciatic nerve, you can develop sciatica, which is characterized by localized or radiating pain, numbness, or other uncomfortable sensations in the lower body
  • In the cervical spine: pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the neck, arms, hands, and sometimes in the head
  • In the thoracic spine (less common): pain, tingling, or numbness in the upper or mid back, radiating through the stomach or chest, which patients often confuse for cardiovascular problems

Prior to having a surgical procedure to treat your radiculopathy, conservative measures such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and steroid injections should be attempted. If these measures do not meaningfully relieve your pain, a North American Spine procedure may be in order.

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Causes of Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy has several typical immediate causes, as well as a range of underlying causes. These include:

    Additional common Radiculopathy causes include:
  • A herniated disc in your spinal column is the most likely cause of radiculopathy. When a disc herniates, it leaks material from its inner core into the surrounding area of your spine, where it may press upon a nerve root.
  • Stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spaces in your spinal column that provide passage for your spinal cord, spinal nerve roots, and spinal nerves. This narrowing can cause radiculopathy when nerve tissues do not have enough room to pass smoothly through the surrounding bony structures. The most likely place for spinal stenosis to occur is the foramina - the small holes that let nerves pass out of the spinal column.
  • Age-related wear and tear, which can lead to Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Back or neck strain due to repetitive physical activity, poor posture, imbalances in the musculature, or heavy lifting
  • Direct physical injury such as a car accident or fall
  • Genetics, whether or not the symptoms appeared in your parents

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Christy F.

Condition: Radiculopathy

Procedure: Laminotomy/ Laminectomy

“I am a nurse and the pain was affecting my ability to care for my patients. I was quickly back to work with no limitations at all post surgery!”

“I never thought I would be able to do yard work and working out again but I’m back to doing whatever I want. Everything. Exercising, running, mowing and playing ball with my kids. Also, I am a nurse and the pain was affecting my ability to care for my patients. I was quickly back to work with no limitations at all post surgery!”

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

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