Radiculopathy Symptoms and Causes

Radiculopathy symptoms include pain that feels like a burning sensation, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs. If the condition is left untreated and allowed to progress it is possible that further symptoms such as muscle weakness and muscular atrophy will begin to be seen. In most cases radiculopathy symptoms will begin mild and progress more as the condition worsens with time. Catching the condition early and beginning radiculopathy treatment is essential for a quick recovery.

Cervical Radiculopathy Symptoms

  • Pain that radiates through the shoulder, down the arm, and occasionally into the hand.
  • Neck Pain.
  • Loss of reflexes in the affected arm.
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the arm and possibly the hand.
  • Muscular weakness in the arm.

Lumbar Radiculopathy Symptoms

  • Pain that radiates through your buttocks and down your legs; worsens when sitting.
  • A sharp constant pain in the back of the leg that will get worse when standing or walking.
  • Weakness or loss of function in the leg or foot.
  • Numbness and/or tingling in one leg.

Symptoms of radiculopathy are also dependent on which nerve is affected. For example, inflamed nerves in the neck and inflamed nerves in the back show symptoms in different parts of the body. In particular, symptoms of cervical radiculopathy are seen in the shoulders, arms, and hands; whereas if your radiculopathy affects the lower back, you will feel symptoms in the buttocks, legs, and feet.

What Causes Radiculopathy?

Compression of the nerve root exiting the spinal canal is the main cause of radiculopathy. This may occur in several different ways; either inflammation or swelling could place enough pressure on a nerve to pinch it, or debris from other conditions that affect the spine could as well compress the nerve leading to the development of radiculopathy.

The most common conditions that play a role in the development of radiculopathy are spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, disc herniations, spinal bone spurs, as well as thickening of the Ligamentum Flavum.