How Is Lumbar Radiculopathy Treated?

Sep 01, 2022

Your spinal cord runs the length of your back, from the base of your skull to your tailbone. It’s a thick column of nerve tissue, and it’s the part of your central nervous system that connects your brain to the rest of your body.

Your spinal cord has natural layers of protection, but age, injury, and degeneration can expose nerves over time. Once exposed, your nerve can easily get inflamed or pinched, creating a painful condition called radiculopathy.

Your lower back, or lumbar spine, is the most common location for radiculopathy. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility. It can be difficult to diagnose and treat, but our spine specialists at Cascade Orthopaedics are here to help.

Lumbar radiculopathy: Identifying your symptoms

Back pain is a common complaint among adults of all ages, but pinpointing the cause isn’t always simple. Radiculopathy develops when nerves in your spine get pinched, causing pain that radiates from your back to other parts of your body.

Common symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Leg pain
  • Pain that worsens when sitting
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of certain reflexes

Sciatica is a type of lumbar radiculopathy that occurs when your sciatic nerve gets pinched. It affects about 40% of Americans at some point in their lifetimes.

Other possible causes include herniated disc injury and degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease gets more common with age, as the soft discs that cushion your vertebral bones break down.

Finding lumbar radiculopathy treatment

If you have lower back pain or pain that radiates to your legs, it might be lumbar radiculopathy, and our team can help you find a treatment plan so you can start feeling better.

We start by reviewing your symptoms and doing a comprehensive physical exam. We may perform imaging tests or nerve studies to identify the exact location of the affected nerves, then we work through your treatment options.

You have a range of nonsurgical treatments available to you, which may include:

These treatments aim to reduce inflammation, take pressure off certain nerves, and make movement less painful. Most of our patients find that a combination of nonsurgical treatments is very effective in relieving their lumbar radiculopathy symptoms.

In more severe cases, spine surgery may be necessary. Depending on the cause of your pain, we may recommend removing damaged discs, fusing discs, or treating painful nerves directly with intradiscal electrothermal therapy.

Lumbar radiculopathy is complex, but it’s treatable too. Find personalized care and effective pain solutions at Cascade Orthopaedics in Auburn and Bonney Lake, Washington. Contact us to get started today.