Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

What is Radicular Pain?

Neck or back pain is incredibly common. In fact, it is so common that up to 80% of our American population will experience a condition that causes back and neck pain. Sometimes these conditions are caused by an injury, but they are most common in the natural aging process.

Radicular pain, also called radiculitis, is what happens when the spinal nerve root, situated inside the spine column, is inflamed or irritated. Radicular pain often refers to what we call the set of symptoms to this irritation/inflammation of the spinal nerve root. Conditions known to cause radicular pain include Bone Spurs, Scoliosis, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, Facet Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, and more. The radicular symptoms may vary in type and intensity depending on where the irritation occurs, meaning many patients suffer from a range of symptoms. For example, certain areas of nerve compression in the spine may affect the hands and make the fingers feel numb. Whereas if the compression was in another area, that patient would likely not notice a difference in their fingers.

Since the source of radicular pain can be different for everyone, the first step is determining the cause of the symptoms. Likewise, the symptoms themselves needs to be addressed. All symptoms should always be consulted with by a physician. The physician will perform a physical and ask questions about the symptoms to determine which tests should be performed to locate the cause. Symptoms that indicate possible radicular pain (meaning there is an underlying spine condition), includes diminished or lost motor skills or reflexes, sudden muscle weakness, numbness or tinging in the arms, hands, or legs, and persistent pain in the neck and/or back.

Depending on the cause of the radicular pain will depend upon the treatment options. Fortunately, most treatment for radicular pain is conservative and does not require surgery, such as medication and physical therapy. This conservative type of treatment is always recommended first, as it often helps to heal the what causes the pain rather than prolonging the condition or making more invasive procedure inevitable.

If the pain or the condition is particularly severe, or the patient does not respond well to conservative treatments after two to four weeks, then more invasive options will be considered, such as surgical procedures. The surgical procedures will depend on what condition is causing the pain. Fortunately, our options for surgery are always minimally invasive and use the most innovative technology for the lowest chances of complications and shorter recovery times. It’s the goal of our team to get you back to life and living pain free.

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