Of those who struggle with the lower back and leg pain caused by lumbar radiculopathy, 10-25% develop chronic symptoms that defy traditional treatment. As an expert in interventional medicine, Todd Koppel, MD, at Garden State Pain Management offers treatment options that can help relieve your pain when other measures fail. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Clifton, New Jersey, or use the online booking feature.
Lumbar radiculopathy is a pain syndrome that occurs when nerve roots in your lower back are compressed. As a result, the nerves become irritated, damaged, and inflamed, causing pain and a variety of symptoms along the affected nerve. Radiculopathy occurs in up to 40% of patients with low back pain.
You may hear lumbar radiculopathy used to mean the same thing as sciatica because the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve are often involved.
Lumbar radiculopathy develops as the spinal canal or the openings that allow nerves to enter and exit the spine become narrow due to degenerative changes. As a result of the narrowing, the spinal nerves become compressed.
Age-related narrowing of the spinal canal most often arises due to herniated discs, bone spurs, degenerative disc disease, thickened ligaments, and enlarged facet joints. Less frequently, lumbar radiculopathy may be caused by an injury, infection, or a tumor.
The most common symptom is pain, and when the sciatic nerve is involved, you may have severe pain that radiates down through the back of your thighs and into your calves. You may also develop muscle cramps and weakness in your legs, especially when you walk or stand.
Lumbar nerve damage also causes symptoms such as tingling, numbness, weakness, and gait abnormalities. Nerve roots serve specific areas of your body, so Dr. Koppel looks for a predictable pattern of pain in the skin or muscles associated with the damaged nerve.
The first step is to precisely identify the cause of your radiculopathy and determine the specific nerve root responsible for your symptoms. In addition to a thorough physical examination, Dr. Koppel may perform a selective nerve root block, an MRI, and electromyography and nerve conduction velocity studies to detect nerve problems.
Your treatment plan is customized to meet your individual needs. The first line of treatment begins with the most conservative options, such as NSAIDs and physical therapy to strengthen your muscles.
Interventional therapies are the next step in your treatment when your symptoms persist. As an expert in interventional medicine, Dr. Koppel recommends effective options, such as epidural steroid injections, nerve root injections, and minimally invasive procedures to decompress nerves and treat herniated discs.
If you struggle with low back pain or pain radiating through your legs, call Garden State Pain Management or book an appointment online.