Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy and pseudo radiculopathy are conditions that are thought to cause back pain because of postural asymmetry. Symptoms of radiculopathy include numbness, tingling, or weakness in various muscles thought to be due to nerve root problems but often caused my muscular dysfunction. The muscles thought to be involved in radiculopathy include the
  • Paraspinals
  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Iliopsoas
  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Gluteal muscles
  • Piriformis
  • Hamstrings
  • Soleus
Due to strain, tear, or weakness in one of these muscles, one of the nerve roots exiting the spine becomes compressed, causing weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles. In most cases, the cause of the problem can be traced back to the root of the nerve near where it exits the spine. The patient may experience pain or numbness close to the site of the damage, or along any area where that nerve is sending signals back and forth. That is why we may feel numbness in our feet for a nerve impaction in our lower back. The common condition where we may feel symptoms of an injury distant to the actual location of strain or damage is called referred pain. A common nerve root impingement that affects the legs is known as sciatica. A nerve root impingement in the neck (cervical area) can produce pain and weakness in the forearm. Polyradiculopathy is the description of a process where more than one spinal nerve roots are affected.



Cause. The cause of radiculopathy may be degeneration of the discs, lack of support from the muscles supporting the spine, muscular imbalances, or circulatory. The nerve roots exiting the spine may become compressed or inflamed or begin working effectively due to poor blood flow to the area. The nerve could be affected by a progressive disease that causes it to become debilitated.

Forms of radiculopathy and related conditions include Cauda Equina syndrome, cervical radiculopahty (radiculopathy in the cervical spine), Paraplegia, Piriformis syndrome, and quadriplegia. Usually nerve root impingement of the spine as a result of wear and tear processes such as herniated discs does not lead to catastrauphic loss of functioning such as paraplegia and quadriplegia, but radiculopathy can be very debilitating, emotionally and physically (I can attest to that). Diagnostic Testing. The "straight leg raise test" can help to diagnose a lumbar or sacral nerve root radiculopathy.

The Straight Leg Raise Test. The Straight Leg Raise Test is a simple but definitive test that can be performed in a medical clinic to determine whether a patient with lower back pain has an underlying herniated disk between the L5 and S1 vertebra, or the S1 and S2 vertebra. This test is performed by a neurologist, spine surgeon, or spine doctor typically. With the patient lying on his back on the examination table or floor, the doctor/examiner lifts the patient's leg while the knee is straight. If you feel pain or other herniated disc symptoms when your leg is lifted to the 30 to 70 range, then the leg raise test is considered positive.