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Spine Surgery Guide


Radiculopathy is a description for several symptoms, where the origination of the problem is near the spine, where the root of the nerve is.

"Radix" is the Latin word for "root." Radiculopathy is a type of neuropathy, meaning that affected nerves do not work as they normally would.

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The symptoms associated with radiculopathy may include pain, muscle control difficulities, tingling and numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.

Pain is typically the common denominator when discussing radiculopathy, and one of the common manifestations of this is sciatica. This may be called lumbar radiculopathy (lumbar refers to the abdominal region of the torso). Pain, however, is not limited to this area, and may vary in location, severity, and in other ways.
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Radiculopathy causes may involve pinched or inflamed nerves which do not receive proper blood flow, herniated discs applying excessive pressure to the nerves, bone spurs from a degenerated disc, or even a disease damaging the nerves.


While radiculopathy is not considered a condition, but rather is a description of symptoms, it is possible to receive a diagnosis by a doctor or medical professional. The patient normally will undergo a full physical examination.

In particular, certain findings may point to the possibility of adverse effects on a nerve root. X-ray options such as an MRI and CT scan / CAT scan may also be used in the patient's evaluation toward a radiculopathy diagnosis.
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The most favorable radiculopathy treatment options consider the underlying cause and help by restoring the nerve root's function to normal. Acupuncture, osteopathic and chiropractic manipulative treatment, and physical therapy are possible treatments to consider.
Medication may be used to relieve pain and other pestering symptoms. Surgery is also an option, especially if other methods do not work, or if muscle weakness is a symptom being suffered by the patient.

Associated Conditions

Additional types of radiculopathy and conditions related to it include: cauda quina syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, paraplegia, piriformis syndrome, sciatica and quadriplegia.
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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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