About Lumbar Radiculopathy

Approximately 6% of patients that present to CICN clinics complain of back pain and/or pain/numbness/tingling down the leg(s). This is known as lumbar radiculopathy. Lumbar radiculopathy is characterized by pain, numbness, or tingling radiating into the buttocks or down the leg from the low back. Most often patients also experience low back pain, however not always. These symptoms are often associated with disorders of the discs in the lower spine, however can also be due to arthritic changes to the spine.

Lumbar radiculopathy is a disease in which pain is caused in the lower back and hip radiating down the back of the thigh into the leg. Symptoms are caused by compression of the nerve roots which exit the spine. The compression can lead to tingling, radiating pain, numbness, paraesthesia and occasional shooting pains into the leg and/or foot.

Lumbar Radiculopathy is the most common form of radiculopathy. A radiculopathy is caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root in the low back.

Causes of this type of pain, in the order of prevalence, include :

● Herniated disc with nerve compression - by far the most common cause of radiculopathy

● Foraminal stenosis (narrowing of the hole through which the spinal nerve exits due to bone spurs or arthritis) – more common in elderly adults

● Diabetes

● Nerve root injuries

● Scar tissue from previous spinal surgery that is affecting the nerve root.

Treatments for Lumbar Radiculopathy

Most patients with lumbar radiculopathy experience resolution of symptoms from conservative musculoskeletal care. CICN data shows that CICN clinics utilizing chiropractic, physical therapy, soft tissue therapies, and home exercise programs achieve results faster than single-disciplinary clinics.

Average number of visits to resolution in CICN clinics for lumbar radiculopathy is 5.88. Approximately 72% of patients will resolve in fewer than 6 visits. 7% of patients resolve between 7-9 visits. Only 11% of patients presenting to CICN clinics with lumbar radiculopathy end up referred for spinal injections or surgical consultation.

Patients with more severe symptoms may also be prescribed a medication to help reduce symptoms temporarily while rehabilitative care begins. The most common medication prescribed is an oral steroid.

In certain cases tests may need to be ordered. These may include an X-ray or MRI. Imaging can show the presence and cause of trauma, including herniated discs, osteoarthritis, and other causes. Imaging is usually only ordered if the response to care is below expectations after 2-4 visits.


https://www.physio-pedia.com/Lumbar_Radiculopathy 2 Source: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lumbar-radiculopathy 3 Source: https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/orthopedics/lumbar-radiculopathy.html

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