Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is not a specific condition, but rather a description of a problem in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (a neuropathy). The emphasis is on the nerve root. This can result in pain (radicular pain), weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.

In a radiculopathy, the problem is at or near the root of the nerve, along the spine. However, the pain or other symptoms may manifest in an extremity through a process called referred pain. For example, a nerve root impingement in the neck can produce pain and weakness in the forearm. Likewise, an impingement in the lower back or lumbar-sacral spine can be manifested with symptoms in the foot. Polyradiculopathy is the name of the term for describing when more than one spinal nerve roots are affected.

Ideally effective treatment resolves the underlying cause and restores the nerve root to normal function. Common mainstream treatment approaches include physical therapy, medication, and relaxation. For acute radiculopaty pain, rest is recommended. For chronic radiculopathy pain (the pain continues to exist despite intensive physical thearapy, medication, and relaxation), your doctor can help identify the root cause and provide treatment options.

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