Pain, Weakness, Numbness: Is it Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy, an umbrella term referring to pinched spinal nerves, typically causes pain, weakness, and numbness. Many patients come to Space City Pain Specialists in Webster and Baytown, Texas, when conservative treatments fail to relieve their radiculopathy pain. As specialists in pain management, we offer comprehensive care that can alleviate your symptoms and help you get back to your active lifestyle again.

What you should know about radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is a condition that occurs when nerve roots in your spine become pinched or damaged. A nerve root is the segment of a nerve where it leaves or enters the spinal canal, traveling through openings in the vertebrae.

Though you can end up with radiculopathy anywhere in your spine, the problem most often occurs in the vertebrae at the base of your neck and in your lower back. Radiculopathy occurs in 12-40% of patients struggling with low back pain, and in many cases, these patients have sciatica.

Top causes of radiculopathy

A traumatic injury, tumor, or infection may lead to radiculopathy, but in most cases, the problem develops due to age-related degenerative changes. The top causes include:

Adults with osteoporosis often end up with radiculopathy due to a compression fracture. When vertebrae are weakened by osteoporosis, they can’t support your normal weight and spinal movement. As a result, the weakened vertebrae collapse.

The scoop on pain, weakness, and numbness

Though pain could signal any number of spine problems, when pain appears together with weakness and numbness, chances are you have radiculopathy. It’s common for a pinched nerve to cause weakness and numbness along the length of the nerve, so these symptoms generally affect your arms or legs, depending on the location of the damaged nerve.

In addition to pain, weakness, and numbness, radiculopathy is also known for causing radiating pain and tingling along the nerve. In many cases, and especially if you have sciatica, this radiating nerve pain can be excruciating.

The importance of getting treatment for radiculopathy

The most important reason to seek medical care for radiculopathy is so that you can get relief from your pain. Beyond improving your comfort and mobility, however, you don’t want to let pain go too long without getting it under control.

When pain persists, the constant nerve stimulation can lead to pain hypersensitivity, a condition called central sensitization. Once this problem develops, you’ll start to feel pain from stimulation that’s normally harmless. For example, simply touching a soft sweater may lead to extreme pain.

We offer a wide range of treatments that can effectively relieve radiculopathy symptoms. Options include the following:

Depending on the underlying cause of your radiculopathy, we may also recommend regenerative treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma therapy, stem cell injections, and prolotherapy, to promote healing.

If you suffer radiculopathy or want to see if you do, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Space City Pain Specialists today.

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