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Radiculopathy

Also known as Pinched Nerve.

Radiculopathy is pain in the distribution specific to a course of a nerve or nerves. Radiculopathy typically manifests as pain radiating down the arm if the problem is in the cervical spine or leg if the problem is in the lumbar spine. Occasionally, there can pain radiating around the rib cage or torso if the thoracic spine is the source.

Pinched Nerve

Symptoms:

  • Pain in the leg or arm in a specific nerve distribution
  • For example, S1 radiculopathy would affect the distribution of the S1 nerve which travels from the buttock down the back of the thigh and leg to the sole of the foot.

Tests may include:

  • Physical examination
  • MRI (can help evaluate for disc herniations, stenosis, and arthritic changes)
  • CT Scan (can help evaluate bone spurs and arthritis)
  • EMG/NCS (can help distinguish between pathology from the spine and pathology of the nerve itself)

Treatment:

  • Medication can help control pain
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen musculature surrounding the spine and improve stability
  • Injections can help decrease inflammatory response and pain
  • Surgical treatment may be recommended based on the reason for the symptoms

Gallery:

This is an image of a small portion of the spinal bones.

Prepare:

Ask yourself–

  • What are my symptoms?
  • Is there anything I do that makes the pain better?  Is there anything I do that makes the pain worse?

Have your Internist or Referring Physician order imaging of the affected area for you to bring to your appointment.

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