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Radiculopathy Specialist

Illinois Spine & Scoliosis Center

Spine Surgeons & Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation located in Homer Glen, IL & Woodridge, IL

Radiculopathy, better known as a pinched nerve, can occur anywhere along your spine but most often affects your lower back. Without prompt treatment, 10-25% of those with lower back radiculopathy end up with chronic pain. At Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center, you can receive comprehensive non-surgical and surgical care for radiculopathy from physicians who specialize in physical medicine and spine surgery. If you need relief from the pain, call the office in Homer Glen or Woodridge, Illinois, or request an appointment online today.

Radiculopathy Q & A

What is radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy refers to a compressed spinal nerve. The nerves in your spinal cord travel through openings in the vertebrae. Problems in your spine can narrow the spaces and pinch the nerves.

What causes radiculopathy?

Any type of spine injury can cause radiculopathy, but you’re more likely to develop the problem due to conditions such as:

  • Herniated disc
  • Slipped disc
  • Bone spurs
  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis

A spinal tumor or cyst can also cause radiculopathy.

What symptoms develop due to radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy causes neck or back pain in the area of the compressed nerve. You may also experience pain, tingling, or numbness along the nerve as it travels down your arms and legs (depending on the location of your compressed nerve).  

For example, sciatica is a well-known type of radiculopathy that occurs when a pinched sciatic nerve sends debilitating pain down one leg.

Radiculopathy seldom occurs in your upper back (thoracic spine). If it does, you may experience pain that wraps around your chest.

As radiculopathy leads to nerve damage, you may develop muscle weakness in your arm or leg. For example, your hand grip may weaken, or you may have difficulty lifting the front of your foot when walking.

Though not common, radiculopathy in your lower back may affect your bladder and bowel. If you suddenly develop incontinence, it's time to seek immediate medical care.

How is radiculopathy treated?

Your provider at Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center creates a customized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. Your treatment may include:

Non-surgical care

In all but emergency cases, radiculopathy treatment begins with non-surgical therapies. You may need to:

  • Change your activities
  • Rest your spine
  • Take medications
  • Participate in physical therapy
  • Get steroid injections

Physical therapy is an essential treatment that reduces inflammation, eases pain, restores muscle strength, and improves spinal mobility.

Surgical intervention

If non-surgical treatments don't help, you may need minimally invasive surgery to repair the cause of your radiculopathy, such as:

  • Laminectomy
  • Laminotomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Laminoplasty
  • Discectomy

A discectomy is a procedure to remove a herniated disc. The other procedures relieve radiculopathy by removing the tissues pushing against the nerve or enlarging the bony openings. After repairing the underlying problem, your provider may need to add an artificial disc or fuse the vertebrae to ensure spinal stability.

If you experience signs of radiculopathy, call Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center or book an appointment online today.