Severe Lower Back Pain Or Leg Pain may be the Result Of A Lumbar Radiculopathy. Patients who present with lower back pain that is radiating into their legs and feet may be diagnosed with a lumbar radiculopathy. A lumbar radiculopathy includes anything that causes irritation, compression or dysfunction of one or more of the lumbar (low back) nerves. The lumbar nerve roots are sensitive to any type of irritation or pressure- and can cause those nerve roots to not function properly. The general term we often use for a lumbar radiculopathy is Sciatica.
What goes on at the nerve root level in the low back can cause many different symptoms? Any type of irritation to the nerve root can cause inflammation which can then cause back pain. Believe it or not, pressing on a nerve may not cause pain, or at least pain right away, but it will cause neurological deficits at some level.
The lumbar nerve roots have sensory, motor, and reflex components. When we say compression of a nerve root could cause neurological deficits, the sensory, motor or reflex component may be affected. Each nerve in the low back controls certain muscles and certain sensations and reflexes in areas of the low back, buttocks and legs.
Radiculopathy can be caused by different things- and often times it is important to distinguish a radiculopathy from other conditions such as spinal cord lesion or a severe muscle strain.
To diagnose a radiculopathy, it is important to have a proper history and consultation with your Doctor. What caused this pain? What is the pain level? Does the back pain travel into the legs? Does the pain cause numbness and tingling anywhere? Your doctor will determine what level the radiculopathy is taking place by looking at sensory changes such as feeling altered sensations or tingling, decreased or absent reflexes, and weakness in certain muscles. This goes back to looking at the sensory, motor and reflex aspect of each lumbar nerve root. So the first step in understanding a lumbar radiculopathy, is to see your doctor for a proper consultation, history and examination. You may also be sent out for specific imaging studies such as a lumbar MRI.
I will discuss more about specific details about what can cause a radiculopathy, what symptoms present at certain levels and how to treat this type of back pain or sciatica in the next couple blog posts. If you have specific questions about a lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica or have tried various treatments with no real success, call our office at 860-633-8756 to find out if we may be able to help.
CT Spine and Disc Center is located in central Connecticut- Specializing in patients who suffer from sciatica, disc degeneration, bulging disc or herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Call us at 860-633-8756 to see if you are a candidate for non surgical spinal decompression