What Is Radiculopathy?
Back pain affects virtually every adult at some point in life. Whether a person experiences acute back pain due to an injury or chronic back pain from an underlying condition, the effects can be debilitating, both physically and psychologically. With a long list of potential causes and conditions related to back pain, it can be difficult to understand what process may be at work without the help of a qualified professional. The knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Williams, has extensive experience with even the most complex orthopedic cases. Learn more about a common cause of back pain – radiculopathy – here, including what it is, the symptoms it may cause, and what treatments are available to give you long-lasting back pain relief.
Why does my back hurt?
The list of potential reasons you could be experiencing back pain is virtually endless, and, oftentimes, there is more than one factor contributing to your symptoms. Some of the most common causes of back pain in adults include:
- Poor posture
- Improper sleeping position
- Repetitive overuse
- Muscle strain
- Nerve damage
- Degenerative disc disease
- Musculoskeletal condition
What is radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy, in particular, can be a frustrating and painful condition. Most often, radiculopathy occurs in the upper back and neck area (cervical radiculopathy) or the lower back (lumbar radiculopathy) and is characterized by a pinched or damaged nerve between the vertebrae. When the nerve becomes irritated and inflamed, the patient typically experiences some classic signs of radiculopathy, including:
- Sharp, stabbing pain in the back, shoulders, arms, or legs
- Pain that can come and go
- Pain that worsens during physical activity
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the extremities
What causes radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy is primarily the result of a shift of tissues and structures within the spine, which can occur for a number of reasons. When these tissues shift, an undue amount of pressure is placed on the nerve roots and leads to nerve damage or irritation. Potential risk factors and causes for radiculopathy include:
- Herniated disc
- Bone spurs
- Thickening of spinal ligaments
- Tumor or growth on the spine
- Repetitive use
How is radiculopathy diagnosed?
During your initial consultation for back pain in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Williams will take a thorough health history and ask certain questions about your behaviors and lifestyle to determine which factor(s) may be contributing to your back and neck pain. In some cases, lab work and imaging studies (CT scan, X-ray, MRI) may be ordered to further elucidate any underlying processes, including tumors, defects, or growths. By analyzing all of this information, Dr. Williams can accurately identify and diagnose lumbar or cervical radiculopathy or another condition, if present.
What is the best treatment for lumbar radiculopathy?
The treatment options for lumbar radiculopathy and cervical radiculopathy are fairly similar but may vary slightly depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, additional medical conditions that may be present, and other factors. In many cases, more conservative treatment options can help to release the compression and relieve back pain by reducing swelling and irritation. These may include medication, physical therapy, and steroid injection. Furthermore, behavioral modification can make radiculopathy treatment even more effective and efficient. Once the location and nature of your radiculopathy have been identified, Dr. Williams will recommend an appropriate course of treatment to help you achieve rapid, reliable, long-lasting relief.
How long does radiculopathy take to go away?
Depending on the severity of symptoms and course of treatment, radiculopathy typically takes about 6 – 12 weeks to resolve. In many cases, patients can achieve more rapid relief by seeking diagnosis and treatment at the first signs of radiculopathy.
Let us relieve your pressure and eliminate your pain with radiculopathy treatment in Atlanta, GA
Everyone deserves to be pain-free and enjoy each day with comfort. Don’t suffer from back pain any longer. Call the caring team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to schedule your private in-office or virtual consultation with orthopedic expert Dr. Christopher Williams today, and take the first step toward saying goodbye to radiculopathy back pain.