Can Chiropractors Help With Radiculopathy?

What Is Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy, which a skilled Rockville, MD chiropractor can remedy, such as one from AmeriWell Clinics, describes a wide range of symptoms that are produced when a nerve root in the spinal column is pinched. The pinched nerve can occur in any area along the spine, including the cervical, thoracic or lumbar. Depending on the location, the symptoms may differ, but frequent symptoms are pain, weakness and numbness. The most common cause of radiculopathy is a narrowing of the space where the nerve roots exit the spine—this can result from a variety of issues like disc herniation and bone spurs. Radiculopathy can be managed with nonsurgical treatments, but minimally invasive surgery may help patients as well.

Types of Radiculopathy

Depending on where the issue occurs, radiculopathy can be three types:

  • Cervical radiculopathy is pressure on the nerve roots in your neck. This causes weakness, burning, tingling, loss of feeling in the shoulder, arm, hand or fingers.
  • Thoracic radiculopathy is a pinched nerve in the upper back portion of your spine. This is pain in your chest and torso and may be mistaken for shingles.
  • Lumbar radiculopathy is pressure on the nerve roots in the lower back. It causes hip pain, sciatica, shooting pain in the leg, paralysis, sexual dysfunction and incontinence.

Can Radiculopathy Be Prevented?

You can’t exactly prevent it, but you can reduce your risk of developing it by practicing good posture, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying physically fit.

Symptoms of Radiculopathy

When the nerve root is compressed, it becomes inflamed and you may have symptoms such as:

  • Sharp pain in the back, the arms, legs, shoulders, and back. This pain might worsen with activities like coughing or sneezing, among others.
  • Weakness of loss of reflexes in your arms or legs.
  • Numbness of the skin, “pins and needles” and other abnormal sensations like paresthesia in the arms or legs.

Your specific symptoms can tell your radiculopathy therapy specialist where your injury is at, or what kind of radiculopathy you have. This can be a great step in finding a treatment plan that works for you.

What Are Some Causes of Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy is caused by changes in tissue that surround the nerve roots. These tissues include bones of the spinal vertebrae, tendons, and intervertebral discs. If these tissues shift or change in size, they may cause narrowing in the spine, which can cause inflammation that adds pressure on to the nerve roots.

A common cause of radiculopathy is a bulging or herniated disc. These discs are cushions between your vertebrae and can slip out of place or become damaged in other manners. This is most likely to occur in the lower back, but it can occur anywhere that your spine runs.

Bone spurs, which are extra areas of bone growth. You shouldn’t have these growths but they can occur due to inflammation from osteoarthritis, trauma from accidents, or other conditions that cause degeneration.

Other causes such as ossification of the spinal ligaments may cause narrowing in the spinal space and cause nerve compression. It’s important to reach out to a trusted radiculopathy therapist, such as one from AmeriWell Clinics, to figure out what is causing your pain and how to treat it.