What is Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica?

Want to know what is lumbar radiculopathy? Lumbar radiculopathy is a common disorder that causes irritation of the spinal nerve roots (which run from the lower back down each leg) leading to a painful condition known as sciatica. Sciatica occurs when one or more discs in the spine ruptures or slips out of place (known as herniation) as a result of an injury, age-related degeneration or strain from overuse. People who are affected by sciatica can experience chronic symptoms, acute attacks or a combination of the two. While sciatica can affect people at any age, most patients with this condition are between 50 and 70 years old.

Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica Signs and Symptoms

Lumbar radiculopathy usually results in sciatica, which can include the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe pain that radiates from the lower back down one or both legs
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction including incontinence
  • Mild numbness through the lower legs, feet and buttocks

Risk Factors for Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica

  • Age-related degeneration of the spine, including disk compression and bone spurs
  • Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Injury or trauma to the back
  • Diabetes can lead to nerve irritation, increasing the risk of sciatica
  • Bone diseases and inflammatory disorders such as arthritis

Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica Treatments

There are a number of treatments for lumbar radiculopathy and sciatica available including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as pain relievers and oral steroids
  • Physical therapy to strengthening muscles
  • Low-impact exercises such as swimming and yoga to release muscle tension
  • During periods of acute pain (also known as ‘sciatica attacks’), heat and/or cold packs applied to the lower back may help
  • Wearing compression shorts or tights to help disperse the pressure on the spine, buttocks and legs may minimize the intensity of the nerve pain and improve circulation
  • Epidural steroid injections (ESI) may provide relief from severe, acute sciatica attacks

Our Indianapolis pain management specialists can provide prompt, accurate diagnoses of spinal disorders such as lumbar radiculopathy and develop a comprehensive treatment plan to minimize the pain and discomfort associated with sciatica. If you suspect you may have lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica symptoms, contact the Indianapolis Center for Pain Management today to schedule an appointment.

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