Radiculopathy (Cervical and Lumbar) in Atlanta, GA

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What is Radiculopathy?

The main components of your spine consist of the vertebrae and the spinal cord, which run through the center of the vertebral bones. Disbanding from the spinal cord, nerve roots extend between the vertebrae in numerous locations within the body. Radiculopathy occurs when these nerve roots become pinched or damaged. This condition can occur as lumbar or cervical radiculopathy, depending on the location of the affected nerve root. While lumbar radiculopathy affects the lower back, cervical radiculopathy causes symptoms in the neck area. Dr. Christopher Williams and his team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta treat both cervical and lumbar radiculopathy in order to alleviate pain and restore comfortable mobility. Learn more about your treatment options by contacting our Atlanta, GA facility to schedule your initial consultation. 

what does radicular pain feel like?

Once a nerve root has been pinched or damaged, it starts to become inflamed, which can result in a number of symptoms, including:

  • Stabbing, sharp pain in the shoulder, arm, back, or leg
  • Pain that worsens with certain strenuous or everyday activities
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs

In some instances, your symptoms may be constant, but you may notice periods where your symptoms become worse or disappear altogether. During your initial consultation, Dr. Williams will carefully evaluate your symptoms to determine the best course of treatment specifically for you and your needs. 

What Causes Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy is most often the result of a shift or change in tissues within the spine. When surrounding tissues shift, they can cause pressure to be placed on the nerve roots. Additionally, shifting can cause the narrowing of the area in which nerve roots travel through, a condition known as foraminal stenosis. Some factors that can lead to this narrowing are:

  • A herniated disc
  • Bone spurs
  • Thickening of ligaments in the spine
  • Spinal infections
  • Cancerous or benign spinal growths

In order to properly diagnose radiculopathy, Dr. Williams may conduct a physical exam, imaging tests, or a nerve conduction study to determine the cause and type of the condition you may have. 

how is radiculopathy diagnosed and treated?

In order to treat radiculopathy, the location and cause of the condition will need to be first identified. In most cases, conservative approaches are first administered, such as medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections to reduce swelling and restore movement to the spine. In cases where these methods prove to be ineffective, minimally invasive surgery may be the best option to release the compression off of the nerve root. Dr. Williams may also recommend various lifestyle changes that can help with the recovery process and prevent the condition from occurring again.

What Are the Risk Factors of Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy can be caused by a wide array of contributing factors, such as geneology, lifestyle habits, injury, and preexisting conditions. These risks may include:

  • aging
  • heavy lifting
  • operating vibrating equipment
  • prolonged repetitive movements
  • smoking
  • herniated discs
  • bone spurs
  • diabetes
  • spinal tumors
  • osteoarthritis
  • scoliosis

Radiculopathy FAQ

Can radiculopathy be permanent?
If left untreated, radiculopathy could cause irreversible damage. However, if you receive treatment as soon as you notice symptoms, Dr. Williams can create a customized plan to help diminish your pain. If you suspect you have radiculopathy, you should contact our facility to schedule an initial consultation.

How is radiculopathy diagnosed?
In order to properly diagnose radiculopathy at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Williams may perform an x-ray, CT, or MRI scan. This allows for a better view of the structures that may be causing pain. Additionally, nerve conduction studies or electromyography may be performed to better identify if the issue is neurological or muscular.

When should I seek treatment for radiculopathy?
To ensure that radiculopathy does not lead to additional damage, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Once you notice that your symptoms are not going away on their own, you should seek consultation at Interventional Orthopedic of Atlanta to receive diagnostic testing. When treatment is undergone early, the prognosis is much more advantageous at getting rid of the pain.

How probable is it that I’ll need surgery to treat radiculopathy?
It’s not particularly likely at all, but it is possible. Dr. Williams will make every effort possible to avoid surgical procedures to treat radiculopathy, regardless of whether it is of the cervical or lumbar variety. However, in situations where nonsurgical options like physical therapy, anti-inflammatory prescriptions, or steroidal injections have been exhausted, he may recommend a minimally invasive surgery like arthroplasty or lumbar microdiscectomy.

What activities or conditions make radiculopathy more likely to develop?
Aging, improper lifting techniques, obesity, poor posture, overuse of repetitive motions, and a genetic history of arthritis may all make individuals more likely to experience radiculopathy. Current participation in contact sports could also contribute to this condition.

get relief today

Radiculopathy can be a serious condition that affects both the neck and back, causing debilitating side effects. Dr. Williams is able to provide advanced treatment options to release compression from the affected nerve roots and allow space for decreased pressure. Contact Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to learn more and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams and our skilled orthopedic team. 

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