Radiculopathy is also known as a pinched nerve in the spine. It occurs when surrounding muscles, bones, tendons or cartilage deteriorate or become injured. Trauma may cause these tissues to change position to produce extra pressure on nerve roots. Lumbar (the lower back), cervical (the neck), and thoracic (middle portion of the spine), are the three sections of the spinal column in which radiculopathy can occur.


Radiculopathy symptoms may include sharp traveling pain from the back to the foot, numbness of the skin in the leg or foot, weakness in the neck, arm, back, or leg, changes in touch sensation, loss of reflexes, and hypersensitivity.


X-rays are a sufficient way of showing bone alignment or narrowing of discs, which is associated with Radiculopathy. MRI’s can also be conducted to examine soft tissue, spinal cord, and nerve roots. Additionally, and EMG can measure electrical impulses of muscles when at rest to find evidence of damage.


Conservative medical management such as medication is one way to treat Radiculopathy. Muscle relaxants, oral corticosteroids, or spinal corticosteroid injections are certain methods of treatment. In extreme cases, surgery is used to free affected area of pressure on the nerve. It is also used when multiple nerves are affected or where nerve function is diminishing, despite conservative medical management. A Discectomy may be performed as a surgical tactic. This involves removing bone spurs or a section of the vertebrae.