Lumbar radiculopathy affects your lower spine, most often in the form of sciatica. If you get lower back pain that shoots down your leg, you could have sciatica and should visit the board-certified neurosurgeons at Coast Neurosurgical Associates in Long Beach, California. They offer conservative lumbar radiculopathy treatment and perform advanced surgeries to relieve your symptoms if necessary. To learn how they can help ease your discomfort, call Coast Neurosurgical Associates today or schedule a consultation online.
Lumbar radiculopathy is a frequent cause of leg and lower back pain. Radiculopathy can occur in any part of your spine but is most likely to affect the lumbar (lower) spine or cervical spine (neck).
Radiculopathy is a term for nerve compression or damage to the spinal nerves. The spinal cord, your central nervous system’s core, is inside the column of bones formed by your vertebrae. The spinal column protects your spinal cord, so it takes a significant trauma or severe disease to damage it.
However, the nerves that spread throughout your body (peripheral nervous system) all originate in your spinal cord. They have to pass through the spinal canal to extend into your trunk and limbs. It’s here that radiculopathy occurs when an abnormality in your spine pinches or damages a nerve.
The most common kind of lumbar radiculopathy is sciatica, which causes shooting pain from your lower back into your hip or buttock. The pain often travels down one leg along the sciatic nerve’s path and may extend to your foot.
Common causes of lumbar radiculopathy include:
Discs are cushioning pads in between your vertebrae. An injury or the effects of wear-and-tear over the years (degenerative disc disease) can cause the outer shell of a disc to tear, allowing the soft core to leak into your spinal canal. The herniated material and inflamed tissues can press on your spinal nerves, causing radiculopathy.
Arthritis might make your vertebrae move out of alignment or change shape. Bone spurs (small pieces of bone your body produces to reinforce your spine) can develop and ligaments thicken, any of which could cause nerve compression.
You could also develop lumbar radiculopathy if a tumor develops in your spinal canal, but this is less common.
Depending on their diagnosis and how severely your lumbar radiculopathy affects you, your personalized treatment plan might contain therapies such as:
Lumbar radiculopathy surgery involves removing the spinal abnormality to make room for your nerves. One option is a discectomy and fusion or artificial disc replacement if you have a herniated disc. Another is spinal decompression, where your surgeon removes excess bone and ligament from the narrowed area.
To find a solution to your lumbar radiculopathy symptoms, call Coast Neurosurgical Associates today or book an appointment online.