Your spinal cord makes up part of your central nervous system, connecting your brain with your body. The many nerves housed inside the bony vertebrae of your spine play a key role, helping you function in the world.
When vertebrae shift out of place or if tissues near your spine become inflamed, the added pressure can compress the sensitive nerves resulting in a condition called radiculopathy.
Commonly referred to as a pinched nerve, this condition can develop anywhere along the spinal cord and can cause numbness, pain, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation along the nerve’s pathway.
At Boston PainCare in Waltham, Natick, and Concord, Massachusetts, our experienced pain management experts regularly diagnose and treat radiculopathy. Take a moment to learn more about this uncomfortable condition and how we can help relieve your pain!
What causes radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy has many possible causes. Many people experience a pinched nerve when it’s compressed by surrounding inflamed tissue, bone, or cartilage, or when a spinal disc slips out of place or becomes herniated.
Much of the time, these conditions are caused by age-related changes to your body. Other causes of pinched nerves include:
- Bone spurs
- Stress from repetitive motions
Some people have an increased risk of developing radiculopathy. In addition to older adults, women, people who are overweight or obese, those with diabetes or peripheral neuropathy, and people with rheumatoid arthritis.
How do I know it’s radiculopathy?
The best way to know if your pain stems from radiculopathy is to visit a pain specialist, like one of the team members at Boston PainCare. Our providers have the knowledge and experience needed to correctly diagnose your condition.
Generally speaking, however, there are some common symptoms of a pinched nerve. You can experience radiculopathy in any of the three main regions of the spinal cord: the cervical region, which supports your head; the thoracic region, which includes the middle part of your spine; and the lumbar region, in the lower back.
When you have a pinched nerve, the sensations can travel along the nerve’s pathway and cause different symptoms based on the nerve’s location. These symptoms may occur in your limbs or front areas of the body in addition to your back and include:
- Decreased feeling in the area
- Sharp, burning, or aching pain
- Pain that feels like an electric jolt when you move
- Tingling or pins-and-needles sensation
Radiculopathy can also cause you to experience muscle weakness or a lack of control and coordination when moving areas affected by the pinched nerve.
Are there ways to relieve the pain of radiculopathy?
Not all cases of radiculopathy require medical intervention. If you experience the symptoms of a pinched nerve, try resting your back and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce inflammation and minimize the pain.
If your pain and other symptoms don’t resolve within a few days, schedule a visit with the experts at Boston PainCare. Our providers assess your symptoms and perform an examination to diagnose radiculopathy. In some cases, your provider may order additional tests, such as ultrasound or an MRI, to identify the root cause.
Once your Boston PainCare provider has a diagnosis in hand, they work with you to create a customized treatment plan that may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
If you’re struggling with the pain of radiculopathy, find relief with the pain management experts at Boston PainCare in Waltham, Natick, or Concord, Massachusetts. Contact the office nearest you and schedule a consultation today!