Some of the major causes of acute and chronic lower back pain are associated with lumbar radiculopathy. However sometimes it is not the actual cause of the back pain. Lumbar radiculopathy (or pinched nerve) affects areas that are on the course of the nerve that is affected.
Radiculopathy is caused by compression or irritation of the nerves as they exit the spine. This can be due to a disc herniation, a bone spur, from osteoarthritis or from the thickening of the surrounding ligaments.
The symptoms of radiculopathy depend on the nerves that are affected. In lumbar radiculopathy, the nerves that control the muscles of the buttocks and legs area affected and pain, numbness and tingling in the legs are the main symptoms. There may be some localized back pain.
The diagnosis of radiculopathy begins with a complete medical history evaluation and physical examination. Medical history is a pertinent part of any diagnosis in order for the doctor to evaluate the symptoms, how long they've been present as well as what (if anything) makes them better or worse as well as what other medical problems may exist or what treatment has already been tried.
By knowing the exact location of the symptoms, our experts at SCCNS have vast experience in lumbar radiculopathy can help localize the nerve that is responsible. Physical evaluation of the extremity involved will be done to measure the patient's muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes to see if there are any abnormalities.
X-rays, MRIs or CT scans may be necessary to further evaluate the patient's condition as well as rule out any other underlying factors that may be present.
In many cases, low back pain can be treated conservatively and the pain will subside after a few days. This treatment may include the use of medications to reduce inflammation and over the counter pain relievers. The use of cold or hot compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow for greater mobility in some patients as well. Depending on the condition, your doctor may recommend a modified conservative treatment including prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication as well as physical therapy as well as possible epidural steroid injections.
Pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic and may need to be treated with a more intensive treatment. In some cases, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments or massage therapy can be beneficial for low back pain. However, if there is an underlying condition that is causing low back pain such as sciatica or other problems, surgery may be considered. Surgery has proven beneficial for conditions such as sciatica or certain progressive nerve problems caused by herniated discs. The main goal of the surgery is to relieve pain caused by underlying conditions.
Our experts at SCCNS perform the most minimally invasive and technologically advanced surgeries available today and remain at the forefront of the advancement of surgical procedures that enable people to live an active, normal life. Our multi-disciplinary team of experts can help you in all aspects of treatment both conservative and surgical.