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Lumbar Radiculopathy Definition

Any injury, pain, muscle weakness, tingling and numbness that results in an irritated, inflammed or a compressed spinal nerve in the lower back of the leg is called lumbar radiculopathy.

Lumbar Radiculopathy Symptoms

The common symptoms of lumbar radioculopathy are:

  • Pain in the arms and legs
  • Numbness in the arms and legs
  • Tingling in the arms and legs
  • Muscle weakness in the arms and legs
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica

Lumbar Radiculopathy Risks

The following are the risk factors for lumbar radiculopathy:

  • Any activity that places an excessive or repetitive load on the spine or lower back
  • Persons who do heavy labour or perform contact sports
  • Family history of lumbar radiculopathy
  • Spine disorders of any kind

Lumbar Radiculopathy Diagnosis

The clinical diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy is through a combination of a lot of factors:

  • Patient's medical history and history of pain
  • A physical examination and description of pain
  • Imaging test results like MRI and CT -myelogram to confirm or rule out lumbar radiculopathy or see the extent of impingement of the nerve root

Lumbar Radiculopathy Treatment

The first line of treatment is usually conservative and non-surgical. And, if it fails to remove or alleviate the pain , then surgery is the way. Some of the treatment options include the following:

  • Medications, painkillers and ointments
  • Selective spinal injections
  • Physical therapy and gentle exercise or rest, as applicable
  • Sometime, lumbar radiculopathy resolves on its own within 6 weeks to 3 months
  • Decompressive surgery like laminectomy, discectomy or microdiscectomy in case of failuire of non-surgical methods and the severity of pain and muscle weakness go up. Surgery is totally dependent on imaging test results and severity of pain and muscle weakness
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