Radiculopathy is a medical condition where a pinched nerve in your spine causes back or neck pain. It is more common in older adults because disorders that can pinch or irritate a nerve are more prevalent among the elderly. That includes herniated discs, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and other conditions.
Radiculopathy can affect the neck, upper back, middle back, or lower back, depending on the affected nerve. The treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the affected nerve.
Read on to discover the most common symptoms of radiculopathy, how to relieve them, and how to get the right treatment.
What Are Radiculopathy Symptoms?
When your nerve becomes pinched or irritated, it usually leads to inflammation that can manifest in several ways. The most common radiculopathy symptoms are:
- Sharp pain in the back, neck, or shoulders
- Pain in arms or legs
- Pain that becomes more intense when performing certain activities
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Muscle weakness in arms and legs
Keep in mind that most of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, so your doctor will need to run some tests before diagnosing you with radiculopathy. In addition, some people suffering from this condition don’t even experience symptoms, which can make diagnosis quite challenging.
The intensity of radiculopathy symptoms depends on each unique case, and they can even come and go in waves.
How Is Radiculopathy Treated?
In most cases, radiculopathy can be treated without surgery, with medications, physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, and steroid injections. Your doctor will only recommend surgery if the symptoms are so severe that they significantly impair your quality of life and the other treatments don’t produce results.
Here is what your doctor will typically recommend to ease radiculopathy symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage radiculopathy symptoms. The most common ones are ibuprofen and aspirin, which help reduce pain and inflammation.
NSAIDs provide temporary relief, which is why they are usually taken at the beginning of a treatment plan.
Heat and Ice Therapy
Ice therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, while heat therapy helps relax tight muscles. That’s why your healthcare provider will recommend a specific way in which you can use these approaches for maximum radiculopathy pain relief.
Corticosteroids can be injected or taken orally to help fight off inflammation and alleviate radiculopathy pain. Steroid injections are practical because they can be injected close to the affected nerve, resulting in better pain relief.
Physical therapy helps you strengthen your core and back muscles, which could take the pressure off your pinched nerve. In addition, it can help stretch and reduce overall stress on your back.
Your medical provider may also recommend exercises and stretches you can do at home to improve posture and strengthen your back. All of this can help relieve radiculopathy pain.
Where to Get Radiculopathy Treatment?
If you’ve been diagnosed with radiculopathy, or you experience some of the symptoms and want to discover the underlying cause, you can do it at the Space City Pain. We have a team of experienced medical professionals who excel at treating pain and helping you regain control of your life.
We can quickly assess your condition, provide a diagnosis, and create a personalized treatment plan to help you get rid of the pain. Click here to discover our contact info and schedule your appointment at Space City Pain.