Lower back pain can range from an occasional minor annoyance to a debilitating pain that affects your mobility and quality of life. If your back pain has escalated into shooting pains down your leg or muscular weakness, you may have developed a condition known as lumbar radiculopathy.
Despite its lengthy name, lumbar radiculopathy is a relatively common condition that is usually treatable by an experienced orthopedic spine specialist in New Jersey. Dr. Grigory Goldberg has helped hundreds of patients get the spinal treatment they need, so schedule an appointment and start your road to recovery today.
Radiculopathy refers to the compression of a nerve in your spine that can cause shooting pain, muscle weakness, and other symptoms. Lumbar refers to your lower back, and lumbar radiculopathy is the condition that arises from a compression of a root nerve in your lower back.
According to the National Institutes of Health, lumbar radiculopathy affects approximately 3% to 5% of the population. Most people develop the condition later in life, with men starting to notice symptoms in their 40s and women in their 50s.
Aging is a major contributing factor in lumbar radiculopathy, but it isn’t an exclusive risk factor. In general, people first notice lower back pain, and when they ignore this pain, it develops into a more severe version.
Lumbar radiculopathy is the compression or irritation of a spinal nerve, which means that it can have dozens of root causes, such as:
Any activity that puts pressure on your lower spine increases your risk for lumbar radiculopathy. According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, other risk factors in addition to age include:
Symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy can vary dramatically between patients depending on where the spine compresses the nerve roots. If you notice that you have chronic back pain alongside one of these symptoms, you may have, or be at risk of developing, lumbar radiculopathy:
The symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy can flare up and then disappear for weeks or months. That doesn’t mean that the problem has resolved itself, and it’s still important to arrange a visit with an orthopedic surgeon to diagnose your concerns and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Since the underlying causes of lumbar radiculopathy vary so much, every patient’s treatment plan is unique. Your orthopedic surgeon will conduct a thorough examination before making a diagnosis and will use their findings to develop a treatment intervention that seeks to reduce pain, restore full nerve function, and ideally, offer a permanent solution to restore your quality of life.
Common treatment options for lumbar radiculopathy include:
Most cases of lumbar radiculopathy do not require surgery, but if your initial treatment plan doesn’t yield results, your surgeon may recommend one of several surgical options to remove the portion of a bulging disc or spur that puts pressure on the nerve.
Lower back pain is, unfortunately, a very common condition. According to a Georgetown University study, approximately 65 million Americans report a recent occurrence of back pain, and 16 million adults have chronic back pain. But not all of these occurrences lead to lumbar radiculopathy, which only affects 5% of the population.
While it’s unlikely that your lower back pain will require surgery, our practice offers minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgery.
Many people suffer from spine issues such as lower back pain or lumbar radiculopathy, and these common conditions can become debilitating if left untreated. If you suspect you may have the symptoms of a spinal condition, book an appointment with Dr. Grigory Goldberg today.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.
Lumbar radiculopathy is a serious condition because it is the result of a compressed nerve. If left untreated, your spine will continue to damage this nerve, which may lead to paralysis, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
The best treatment for lumbar radiculopathy depends on the underlying cause of the condition. If you have a physically demanding job, your surgeon may recommend physiotherapy or rest, and medication to reduce inflammation and swelling. Each case is different and will require a tailored intervention plan.
The main difference between generalized lower back pain and lumbar radiculopathy is that lower back pain may have a wide range of causes, including pulled muscles, spinal deformities, and even simply sleeping incorrectly. Lumbar radiculopathy refers to a specific type of condition stemming from a compressed nerve.