Radiculopathy

Introduction

Radiculopathy is dysfunction of a spinal nerve root (or roots) that results in pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in either your arm or leg depending on which nerve root(s) are involved.  There are 29 pairs (left and right) of spinal nerves that exit the spine via neural foramen that are present at each level of the spine (one pair leaves at each vertebral level).  Radiculopathy may affect only one side of the body or may be bilateral.  When radiculopathy is present in the lumbar nerve roots, it produces sciatica; in the cervical nerve roots, it produces pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hands.

Causes

Treatments

The treatment of radiculopathy depends on the specific cause in each situation.  Surgery may be considered if a course of conservative treatment does not provide pain relief, or if the pain is too severe and the patient is having difficulty functioning.  Conservative treatments include: