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Radiculopathy Symptoms

Radiculopathy symptoms from nerve root irritation in the lumbar region include numbness, pain, weakness, or tingling down either or both legs. For instance, if spinal segment S1 is the source of nerve impingement or irritation, pain typically is noted down the back of the leg to the heel and foot. There is often plantar-flexion weakness, but this can be a subtle radiculopathy sensation.

If the cervical spine is the source of the nerve root irritation, similar symptoms may be identified in the arm and shoulder area. For example, radiculopathy at the C5 segment usually manifests with pain in the upper part of the lateral arm and the shoulder, and C7 involvement is indicated by tricep weakness and a decrease in reflex.

Evaluating Radiculopathy Symptoms
Radiculopathy symptoms are often evaluated with a pinprick and touch examination to identify specific areas of nerve involvement. To confirm the affected source, particularly in referred pain, it is necessary to perform some type of diagnostic imaging and/or nerve conduction studies. Once a diagnosis is determined, a medical specialist trained in spinal disorders is most qualified to outline the most effective treatment.

Surgery is most often the treatment of last resort. In fact, many patients put off having surgery for fear of a long recovery time and the intense pain of rehabilitation. At The Bonati Institute, all surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. The recovery time is typically much briefer than with open procedures, which require general anesthesia. Rehabilitation can often start immediately.

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