Radiculopathy, better known as a pinched nerve, can occur anywhere along your spine, but it most often affects the lower back, where it may progress to cause chronic pain. The spine specialists at Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group in Fresno, California, start your treatment with conservative therapies, while offering their surgical expertise when needed to repair the underlying problem. To get a thorough exam and receive customized treatment that alleviates your pain, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
Radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root in your spine is compressed. Your spinal nerves travel through the bony spinal canal and then exit and enter the spine through small openings in the bones. Problems with your spine can narrow these spaces and pinch the nerve roots.
Any type of spinal injury, from straining your muscles to a severe traumatic injury, can cause radiculopathy. However, the spaces in your spine often narrow due to degenerative conditions such as:
Though not as common, a cyst, tumor, or spinal fracture can also cause radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy typically causes back or neck pain in the area of the compressed nerve root. However, pinched nerves also lead to symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness that travel along the length of the nerve.
If your pinched nerve is in your neck, the pain and other symptoms can travel down your arms, while radiculopathy in your lower back affects your legs. Sciatica, one of the most common examples of lumbar radiculopathy, often causes severe pain that radiates down one leg.
In severe cases, you may also develop muscle weakness in your arm or leg, have a weak grip, or experience difficulty walking.
Your provider at Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group creates a customized treatment plan based on the cause of your radiculopathy and the severity of your symptoms. Your treatment may include one or more of the following:
You may need to modify your activities and take medications to reduce the pain and inflammation. Nearly everyone benefits from physical therapy, which reduces inflammation, builds muscle strength, and improves your range of motion.
Interventional therapies target the nerves causing your pain. Epidural steroid injections reduce nerve inflammation, while other treatments block the nerves sending pain signals to your brain.
Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group includes spine surgeons and neurosurgeons with years of experience treating radiculopathy. Whenever possible, they use minimally invasive procedures that are typically done as outpatient spine surgery.
Several types of surgery effectively decompress spinal nerves, including:
While a discectomy specifically repairs a herniated disc, the other procedures decompress spinal nerves by removing or cutting different parts of the spinal bone. Some decompression surgeries are followed by a spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement to restore spinal stability.
If you develop the classic signs of radiculopathy, such as pain traveling down an arm or leg, call Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group or book an appointment online.