Fortunately, most people can be treated conservatively and their symptoms improve within six weeks to three months. Conservative treatment may include the use of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and modified activities. If patients do not improve with conservative treatments, we may suggest the next step in our multidisciplinary approach and have one of our pain management experts administer a steroid injection. An x-ray machine is used to accurately inject steroid medication between the bones of the spine adjacent to the involved nerves. This may rapidly reduce the inflammation and/or irritation of the nerve and decrease the patient's symptoms.
As with any medical condition, there is always a chance that conservative treatment may not work. In some cases of lumbar radiculopathy where the symptoms continue despite all conservative treatments, and if the symptoms are severe, surgery may be suggested in order to remove the compression from the affected nerve. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of the radiculopathy.
Surgical procedures may include a laminectomy or a discectomy. A laminectomy removes a small portion of the bone covering the nerve to allow it to have additional space. A discectomy removes a portion of the disk that has herniated out and is compressing the nerve.
The neurosurgical experts at SCCNS have vast experience in minimally invasive surgeries and can help our patients understand each treatment option. We believe that educating our patients allows them to be actively involved in their treatment and that results in a higher success rate.