Lumbar radiculopathy is nerve irritation caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Damage to the disc occurs because of degeneration (“wear and tear”) of the outer ring of the disc, traumatic injury, or both. As a result, the central softer portion of the disc can rupture (herniate) through the outer ring of the disc and abut the spinal cord or its nerves as they exit the bony spinal column. This rupture is what causes the commonly recognized pain of “sciatica” that shoots down the leg.
Sciatica can be preceded by a history of localized low back aching or it can follow a “popping” sensation and be accompanied by numbness and tingling. The pain commonly increases with movements at the waist and can increase with coughing or sneezing. In more severe instances, sciatica can be accompanied by incontinence of the bladder and/or bowels. Increased radiating pain when the lower extremity is lifted supports the diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy. Nerve testing (EMG/electromyogram and NCV/nerve conduction velocity) of the lower extremities can be used to detect nerve irritation. The actual disc herniation can be detected with radiology testing, such as CAT or MRI scanning.
Virginia Interventional Spine Associates (VISA) works with you to develop a custom plan to alleviate pain associated with sciatica and lumbar radiculopathy. As a state-of-the-art pain management treatment center in Fredericksburg, Va, our doctors have years of experience treating lumbar radiculopathy symptoms and can help reduce your pain and discomfort for a more comfortable life.