Radiculopathy pain can be treated in a variety of ways.
What is Radiculopathy?
When a nerve does not work correctly, it is a neuropathy. If one or more nerves are affected by certain conditions, it is called radiculopathy. The symptoms of this include numbness, lack of muscle control, weakness, or pain. Sometimes these symptoms radiate to other parts of the body. For example, lumbar pain in the lower back or sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy) may lead to symptoms in the foot. A neck impingement (pinched nerve in the neck), or cervical radiculopathy, can manifest as forearm weakness or pain. Other types of this disorder (and some related conditions) are, for example, thoracic radiculopathy, cauda equine syndrome, piriformis syndrome, Lyme disease, paraplegia, and quadriplegia. In the case of cervical radiculopathy, the people most likely to be affected are women, between the ages of 45 and 64.1
Radiculopathy vs. Myelopathy
Myelopathy refers to spinal cord pathology. If it is inflammatory, the term for that is myelitis.2 Radiculopathy can be caused by an irritated or pinched nerve, perhaps damaged by disease or affected by low blood flow. Myelopathy occurs when the pinched nerve is located in the spinal cord. It is different from the other condition in that myelopathy “affects the entire spinal cord”, whereas radiculopathy “is pressure on the spinal nerve roots at certain points”. Myelopathy can be caused by narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), arthritis, and bone spurs. Symptoms of myelopathy can be similar to radiculopathy: weakness, pain, numbness, or loss of coordination.3
Treatments Options for Radicular Pain
Instead of masking the problems with pain medication or starting with surgery, it would help if the underlying cause of the radiculopathy could be resolved. Conservative approaches include chiropractic care. In fact, “spinal manipulation has been found to be effective for the treatment of acute lumbar radiculopathy”. Patients can also receive instruction in exercises that will help to stabilize the condition and prevent further injury. Later, strengthening exercises may be prescribed. If the situation is too severe, some patients will be referred for surgery.4 Chiropractors can find the underlying cause of the radicular pain, such as whiplash, scar tissue, diabetes, or herniated disc. Herniated disc symptoms may be indicative of radiculopathy; in fact “herniated disc with nerve compression (is)…the most common cause of radiculopathy”. Chiropractors have tools that range beyond manipulative therapy. Other treatment options are cervical traction, exercises, education about ergonomics, soft-tissue treatment, and physiotherapy.5
Learn more abour cervical radiculopathy.