The spine consists of 33 bones, best known as vertebrae, which shield the spinal cord from experiencing injury or trauma. The bones of the spine permit an individual to remain upright, bend, and twist. The vertebrae are held in place by a collection of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Nerves also extend from the spine to the upper and lower extremities, such as the arms and legs. The spine curves in an S-shape, which is essential for spinal health. These curves are accountable for equilibrium, shock absorption, and a range of movements. Each section of the backbone has a specific name and function. They are the:
Each vertebra is cushioned from each other with an intervertebral disk. This shields the vertebrae from rubbing over each other. When trauma or injuries occur, these intervertebral discs can become damaged and cause the compression or impingement of a nerve. Depending on which nerve is compressed, an individual can experience a variety of painful symptoms, including sciatica or sciatic nerve pain. Individuals can develop radiculopathy as a result of an injury, or it may occur seemingly without a cause. People within 30 to 50 years old are most likely to experience radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy can ultimately develop due to a variety of injuries and/or aggravated conditions, including:
Additional risk factors for developing radiculopathy include:
Since the nerve roots extending from the spinal cord travel throughout various areas of the human body, many individuals will experience different symptoms depending on the location where the nerve compression or impingement occurs. We will discuss the different symptoms an individual may experience depending on where the irritation occurs along the spine.
Cervical radiculopathy develops when a nerve in the neck, or cervical spine, becomes compressed or impinged due to an injury and/or aggravated underlying condition. The symptoms associated with cervical radiculopathy include:
Individuals may commonly experience painful symptoms in their chest and torso when nerve compression or impingement occurs in the thoracic spine or middle back region of the spine. Thoracic radiculopathy may be frequently misdiagnosed as shingles, heart, abdominal, or gallbladder problems. The symptoms associated with thoracic radiculopathy include:
Individuals may experience painful symptoms in the low back, hips, and legs when nerve compression or impingement occurs in the lumbar spine or low back region of the spine. Lumbar radiculopathy is also commonly referred to as sciatica or sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica symptoms include pain, tingling sensations, and numbness along the length of the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, the nerve roots in charge of controlling the bowel and bladder may become irritated, resulting in bowel or bladder incontinence as well as loss of control. Other generalized symptoms associated with lumbar radiculopathy include:
Together with a physical evaluation and review of symptoms, healthcare professionals may diagnose radiculopathy utilizing:
Normally, any type of radiculopathy can ultimately be treated without the need for surgical interventions or surgery. Based on the severity of the radiculopathy, healthcare professionals may recommend a variety of treatment approaches, including:
In a variety of instances, healthcare professionals may recommend surgery to help treat the source of the nerve root compression or impingement. Several surgical interventions include repair of a herniated disc, widening of the spinal canal, eliminating a bone spur, or fusing the bones. Because each patient’s case is unique, healthcare professionals will discuss surgical recommendations in detail before following-up with the procedures. The options for surgery will depend on the cause of the radiculopathy and the overall health of the individual as well as other essential factors.
Several strategies may ultimately help prevent and protect against nerve compression or impingement. These include:
Radiculopathy is characterized as the compression or impingement of a nerve root in the spine. The irritation of this well-known health issue can cause a wide variety of uncomfortable and painful symptoms, including pain and discomfort, tingling sensations, weakness, and numbness. Lumbar radiculopathy can also sometimes be referred to as sciatica. Sciatica is characterized as a collection of symptoms, similar to those previously described, due to the compression or impingement of the sciatic nerve in the low back. Proper diagnosis is essential for treatment. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
The purpose of the article was to discuss radiculopathy and sciatica. Radiculopathy is often associated with common symptoms, including pain, tingling sensations, and numbness, similar to sciatica. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of painful symptoms, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have these results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, through the utilization of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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The information herein on "Radiculopathy and Sciatica" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
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