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Lower Back Pain Doctors | Lumbar Radiculopathy Specialists

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Recover from your lower back pain, radiating hip pain, numbness, and tingling with the newest pain treatments. Our pain management specialists use conservative methods such as physical therapy, hot and cold therapy to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve, injection-based therapies, such as nerve blocks, steroid injections for pain relief, and to reduce swelling, nerve ablation, and other types of procedures to treat patients with lower back pain. Injections can provide immediate lower back pain relief that can last for several months.

Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, massages, or electrical nerve stimulation, can make a big difference for patients with lumbar back pain. Your spine specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians can help you to decide whether alternative treatments can benefit you. As experts in spine pain management, our physicians offer comprehensive treatments that focus on your specific level of pain. Visit our clinic in Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan to get the lower back pain under control.


Lumbar radiculopathy

Lumbar Radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition that leads to pain in the lower hip and lowers back, that can radiate down to the back of the thigh and into the leg. Lumbar radiculopathy occurs once a nerve root that exits the spine is compressed. This compression can cause radiating pain, numbness, tingling, paraesthesia, and in some cases, shooting the spine. Radiculopathy can affect any part of the spine, however, it most commonly affects the lower back, where it is referred to as lumbar-sacral radiculopathy.

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The symptoms that one experiences will depend on what is causing lumbar radiculopathy and what nerve roots were affected. It is important to know the nature of the pain, as well as its localization. Pain due to lumbar radiculopathy can be sharp, piercing, throbbing, dull, stabbing, shooting, or burning. There are patients, who in addition to pain, also experience sensory loss, paresis o loss of reflexes.

What causes lumbar radiculopathy?

Some common causes of lumbar radiculopathy include tumors, a herniated disc with a nerve root compression, lesions of the intervertebral discs and degenerative disease of the spine, lumbar spinal stenosis or scoliosis, as well as other underlying conditions such as osteomyelitis.

When a patient under 50 years old suffers from lumbar radiculopathy, it is typically caused by a herniated disc. If this condition affects those older than the age of 50, it is often caused by a degenerative change in the spin, such as stenosis of the foramen intravertebral. There are some risk factors for acute lumbar radiculopathy, such as frequently lifting heavy objects, being overweight, living a sedentary life and more.

The symptoms that one experiences will depend on what is causing lumbar radiculopathy and what nerve roots were affected. It is important to know the nature of the pain, as well as its localization. Pain due to lumbar radiculopathy can be sharp, piercing, throbbing, dull, stabbing, shooting, or burning. There are patients, who in addition to pain, also experience sensory loss, paresis o loss of reflexes.

How is lumbar radiculopathy diagnosed?

To diagnose lumbar radiculopathy, you will first get a physical exam with your doctor. After a physical exam, your doctor might also need to run some additional imaging tests, such as an X-ray, which can help to view bone alignment or a narrowing of the discs, an MRI scan, which helps to get images of the nerve roots, spinal cord and soft tissue, a CT scan, which can show details of the bones, including bone spurs, an electromyography/NCV, which helps to measure the electrical impulses of the muscles when resting and during contractions, which help the doctor to evaluate the damage. Another possible help during the diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy might be nerve conduction, which can help to measure the ability of nerves to send electrical signals.

Treatment for lumbar radiculopathy

There are several treatments of lumbar radiculopathy options. Your doctor might recommend that you try home care, medications, a combination of conservative treatments, and, as a last resort, surgery.

Some home care tips include limiting any types of activities that might aggravate your pain. Your doctor might prescribe a brace, a splint, or a soft neck collar, which might all help to immobilize the affected area. This can make it easier for you to allow the affected area to rest and heal. Your doctor might also recommend treatment options with mechanical traction. Such options include the use of weights or similar devices, which can help to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve, as they create space between the bones of the spine. In some cases, your doctor might recommend that you undergo physical therapy sessions. A part of physical therapy can include hot and cold therapy and other treatment options. The therapist might teach you exercises that can help to strengthen your muscles, stretch and keep the affected area protected.

If you are overweight, it might help you to lose weight, as this can help to reduce pressure on the affected area. There are certain medications, which can help to treat lumbar radiculopathy. Some of these options include muscle relaxants, oral corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, oral corticosteroids, prescription opioids for severe pain, and in some cases, spinal corticosteroid injections.

A corticosteroid injection is a more powerful anti-inflammatory remedy, that can provide pain relief and reduce swelling.

In cases where your condition doesn’t improve despite conservative lumbar radiculopathy treatment, your doctor might recommend surgery. Surgical procedures are done to free the affected nerve from the pressure. One used surgical approach is called a discectomy, during which bone spurs or parts of a disc are removed. A section of the vertebrae might need to be removed as well or fused. Just as it is the case with any type of surgery, this approach also comes with a risk of bleeding, infection, or complications from anesthesia.

What is the outlook for lumbar radiculopathy?

In most cases, people who suffer from lumbar radiculopathy can manage their symptoms with conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, or corticosteroid injections. Some more severe cases require surgery. The outlook is in both cases good and after a certain recovery period, both cases recover fully from the condition.

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How can you prevent lumbar radiculopathy?

Although you can’t fully prevent lumbar radiculopathy, you must do some steps to encourage spine health. Do your best to practice good posture and avoid slouching. When you’re sitting down, you must keep your both feet on the floor. When you have to lift heavy objects, make sure to lift with your knees and not with your back.

Whenever you are doing repetitive work, make sure to take frequent breaks. Make sure that you look for supportive shoes, that can provide good arch support. Make sure that you avoid wearing high heels for a long time while you are healing. Make sure to add exercise into the daily routine, as staying fit is another way of helping to protect your spine.

A healthy weight is another way of reducing the chance of developing radiculopathy. If you are unsure about the exercise program that works best for you, make sure that you speak to a medical professional about it. A physical therapist can show you the best exercise routine for you, whereas it is also just as important that you speak to a doctor before starting an exercise routine. If you do exercises in the wrong way, you might be doing more damage than good, which is something that needs to be avoided.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6858271/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430837/
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/radiculopathy
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/95025-overview

Do you have any questions about Lower Back Pain (Lumbar Radiculopathy)? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the back pain management specialists and the top-rated pain physicians in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan? Please call our office for a consultation and indicate which location you want to visit.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.

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  • Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

    1. Board Certified
    2. Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Education & training

    1. SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
    2. Rutgers University Fellowship
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