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What Is Radiculopathy in the Spine?

Radiculopathy is a spinal condition your doctor discovers where a nerve is compressed in your spinal column. The pinched nerve causes inflammation, leading to pain and numbness in your back and other parts of your body. While pinched nerve pain can be debilitating, it is a treatable condition.

If you suffer discomfort, stiffness and pain from a pinched spinal nerve, visit the expert spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine in New Jersey and New York. The doctors at this spine and pain center provide a definitive diagnosis. This spine care center uses advanced procedures to treat all types of spinal radiculopathy.

Where on My Spine Does Radiculopathy Strike?


A compressed nerve can occur anywhere along your spine. Your doctor determines the source of your pain, sometimes through diagnostic imaging, before deciding on the most appropriate treatment for your particular case. Based on where your pain originates, doctors classify your pinched nerve as one of three types of radiculopathy:

  1. Lumbar radiculopathy. This type of compressed nerve occurs in your lower spine. It may affect your sciatic nerve, causing sciatica. Sciatica pain radiates from the lower spine through your hips and buttocks to one leg.
  2. Thoracic radiculopathy. This painful condition affects your middle back. It may cause pain in your chest and torso. Thoracic radiculopathy isn’t as common as other forms of radiculopathy, but the pain can be debilitating.
  3. Cervical radiculopathy. If you suffer from cervical radiculopathy, you have a compressed nerve root in your neck. This condition causes weakness, stiffness, numbness and tingling in your arms and hands.

This spine care center has offices in Goshen, NY and Edison, Hackensack, Paterson, Union, Freehold, Bayonne, West Orange, and West Caldwell, NJ. Their renowned spine specialists use advanced medical equipment to provide you with the expert care you need, no matter what’s causing your back pain.

Am I Suffering from Radiculopathy?

Your symptoms vary depending on the type and location of compressed nerve. Common symptoms of radiculopathy to look out for include:

  • Numbness, pins and needles or weakness in your arms and legs
  • Burning or tingling in your shoulder, arm, hand, or finger
  • Pain in your chest and torso
  • Pain that worsens when standing or sitting
  • Lower back pain
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Hip pain and sciatica
  • Shooting pain in your leg
  • Incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Paralysis

If you experience any of these symptoms or you have nagging back pain, visit an experienced spinal surgeon. The board-certified spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine in New York and New Jersey have the expertise and technology to correctly diagnose and treat a wide range of spinal conditions.

What Causes Radiculopathy?

Any structural change or condition in your spine that compress nerve roots can cause radiculopathy. Pinched nerve symptoms are commonly caused by:

Early diagnosis of your symptoms is crucial for the health of your spine. The doctors at the spine and pain center of Premier Brain & Spine accurately identify and diagnose all of your underlying spinal conditions so they can effectively treat your radiculopathy.

Am I at Risk of Radiculopathy?


While anyone can suffer a compressed spinal nerve, you may be more vulnerable to this condition than others. The risk factors of radiculopathy include:

  • Advanced age. If you’re between 30 and 50 years old, you’re more likely to suffer nerve compression.
  • Obesity and other weight problems. Carrying excess weight creates more strain on your spine, increasing the chances of radiculopathy.
  • Poor posture. Poor posture and regularly holding your head forward increases the risk of a pinched nerve in your cervical spine or neck area.
  • Poor lifting techniques. When your work involves heavy lifting or you’re an avid weightlifter, you put your spine at risk of radiculopathy, since you’re more likely to hurt yourself if you lift improperly.
  • Repetitive motions. Repeated bending and twisting may lead to spinal damage and an increased risk of radiculopathy.
  • Hereditary factors. If you have a family history of spinal conditions or degenerative disc problems, you’re more likely to experience nerve compression.

If you’re at risk for radiculopathy, visit the doctors at a NY or NJ spine pain center. You may require lumbar radiculopathy treatment or thoracic radiculopathy treatments. New Jersey’s top spine specialists provide clear answers to all of your questions about the causes and symptoms of your spinal conditions.

How Do Doctors Treat Radiculopathy?

Your spine specialist considers the type of radiculopathy you have — for example, thoracic radiculopathy or lumbar radiculopathy — before deciding how to best treat you. A top spine surgeon chooses the most appropriate radiculopathy treatment from the full range, which includes:

  • Physical therapy. Back strengthening exercises and posture correction offer better support for your spine.
  • Medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications that reduce inflammation and relieve your pain, which can lead to an increase in your range of motion.
  • Spinal injections. Steroid injections reduce pain and swelling while preventing nerve inflammation. Spinal injections offer temporary relief.
  • Modification of regular activities. Your doctor may insist you avoid any strenuous activity for a period of time to reduce the risk of more damage and pain.
  • Immobilization. To prevent aggravating your damaged spinal nerves, your doctor may prescribe a soft neck collar, splint or neck brace.
  • Surgery. If conservative treatments don’t work, your doctor performs spinal surgery to provide a long-term solution. Your cervical, thoracic and lumbar radiculopathy surgical options include:

In addition to these treatments, you can lower your risk of radiculopathy by losing weight, exercising regularly and using healthier lifting and posture habits. If you need the best radiculopathy lumbar region treatment or any spinal pain care for radiculopathy, contact Premier Brain & Spine today.

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 by Dr. David Wells-Roth (Neurosurgeon) of Premier Brain & Spine

Premier Brain & Spine
10 Parsonage Rd, Suite 208A
Edison, NJ 08837
(732) 258-0190