Lumbar Radiculopathy: Take Action Before Surgery Becomes Your Only Option
"Shooting pain down my legs" or "tingling in my feet that started with low back pain" are just a couple of the ways this condition is described when a patient walks through our doors. Depending on the cause of the lumbar radiculopathy, this can be a condition that leads to surgery. Before the condition gets that bad, there are plenty of options. You can get relief from this painful condition.
What Is Lumbar Radiculopathy?
Lumbar Radiculopathy refers to any disorder that negatively affects the nerve roots in the spine of the lower back. Commonly referred to as radiating lower back pain, this ailment is often caused by compression of the nerves due to inflammation or spinal disc pressure.
If you are experiencing radiating lower back pain, you know how debilitating it can become! Is your pain interfering with your professional or personal life? Are you desperate for relief? You are not alone! Chronic lower back pain has become the most prevalent disability in the western world, impacting individuals both young and old, those who are very active as well as in sedentary working situations.
Approximately 80 percent of adults in the U.S. experience lower back pain at some point in their life. As one of the leading health-related causes for job related disabilities and missed days of work, lower back pain is not only a personal interference, but it has become a health epidemic. It's one thing when the lower back pain is localized to just your spine. When the symptoms start to radiate, the problem is becoming worse.
Are You Experiencing Radiating Lower Back Pain?
Patients with radiating lower back pain often experience other symptoms that correlate to the loss of optimal physical function and general well being. Experiencing chronic radiating pain is not only a physical issue, but also causes emotional and social stress resulting from the pain.
Lower back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sharp and intense pain that leaves a patient incapacitated. Often this pain begins in a localized lumbar region and, when left untreated, continues to radiate to other parts of the lower extremities. Symptoms of Lumbar Radiculopathy may include not only the distinct pain itself, but also numbness, weakness of lower back muscles, loss of your deep tendon reflexes, or tingling in or around the affected area.
Common patient questions concerning Lumbar Radiculopathy include:
- What is causing my radiating lower back pain?
- How do I treat this chronic and painful issue?
- Are surgery and medication the only options?
- How am I going to continue to cope with this pain?
There is good news… Chiropractic can help! We see patients every single day who have experienced chronic radiating lower back pain and now have found relief in our office. Our approach includes a consultation, examination, and any necessary x-rays. Once we've gathered all of the relevant information, we create a custom treatment plan for you that will include chiropractic adjustments, electric stimulation, spinal decompression, and home stretches and exercises.
The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Lumbar Pain
There are many times when lower back pain begins abruptly because of a trauma, like an accident or a fall. Sometimes it is a car accident or it just may be from bending over in the wrong way and causing an instant “kink” in your back. Other times, lumbar pain develops over time due to age-related changes of the spine, from sedentary lifestyles, repetitive activities and long days at a desk or in a car, etc.
Short term, or acute, back pain may last a few days to a few weeks and may initially resolve on its own. (This does not mean the problem was addressed.) The important distinction that short term lumbar pain may just be the beginning. Long-term damage has not taken effect, but it may be a warning that something is wrong with parts of your spine or your daily activities are imbalanced and causing damage.
On the other hand, chronic lumbar pain is defined as pain in the lower back that lasts for 12 weeks or longer. Chronic lumbar pain very often includes the radiating symptoms that have been previously mentioned. Chiropractic care delves into finding the source of your pain and focuses on achieving symptom relief, and most importantly addressing the underlying issue for preventative future care. You know you have chronic back pain when you've stopped doing the activities you love or you are regularly taking over-the-counter medications just to get through your day.
Symptoms of Lumbar Radiculopathy
Well let’s be honest here, the most obvious symptom is pain in your lower back! However there are many uncomfortable and painful symptoms that patients complain of which stem from radiating lower back pain.
You may experience one or several of the following:
- Weakness of the lower back muscles
- Loss of reflexes
- Sharp pain starting in the lower back and extending to the foot
- Pain radiating down the buttocks or legs
This pressure to your spine is not only painful, but also dangerous. If you are suffering from radiating lower back pain, it’s time to find help.
Do You Have Pain Shooting Down Your Leg?
Sciatica, which is pain radiating from the lumbar region down the back of the leg, is a common presentation of Lumbar Radiculopathy. Radicular pain reaches into the lower extremities of the body directly from a specific spinal nerve root. When a disc in the lower back is damaged, compressed, or has inflamed tissue surrounding it, this causes the symptoms such as pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness to spread - or radiate - to other areas of your body. The pain pattern or the toes that are tingling give insight as to which nerve root is involved.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body, which is why prolonged symptoms often lead to chronic weakness in these areas. Not only is this condition painful, but nerve flow to the lower extremities is limited when there are issues with sciatic nerves, therefore causing decreased motor sensory function to parts of a patient’s body. Unfortunately, radiating sciatic pain is NOT something that commonly goes away on its own for many people. And even if it does, it often comes back when not treated with chiropractic care.
Not only is this condition painful, but nerve flow to the lower extremities is limited when there are issues with nerves, causing decreased motor sensory function to various parts of a patient’s body. If you experience this type of pain, it is vital that you seek Chiropractic treatment not only to alleviate your discomfort, but to address the source of your pain and symptoms.
Causes of Lumbar Radiculopathy
Compression, injury and/or inflammation to the spinal nerve root in the lower back is the cause of most Lumbar Radiculopathy issues. Many different conditions can lead to this type of chronic pain, including degenerative disc issues, spinal nerve root compressions, bone spurs, lumbar disc herniations, and much more.
Lumbar discs can become damaged and cause radiating pain from overexertion of strenuous activities, traumatic injuries or even from congenital defects. Not only is the source of the pain and injury of major concern, but the surrounding blood flow to the nerves and organs in other parts of a patient’s body are also affected by an issue as small as one herniated disk.
Could a pinched nerve be causing your pain?
When there is damage or compression to the nerves, a variety of symptoms can occur. Patients can experience localized pain in the lower back, shooting or radiating pain near the spine, tingling or numbness in the spine, or a burning sensation.
When a nerve is compressed, pressure is being put on nerves by surrounding tissue or bone due to the misalignment in the musculoskeletal system. Pinched nerves can be caused by a variety of things… from something simple like sleeping wrong or excessive computer use, to car accidents and sports injuries.
The pain experienced with pinched nerves is the bodies way of telling you that something needs to be corrected! Correcting the alignment of your body before the pain increases or turns into an even more serious issue is what Chiropractic adjustments and decompression can assist with.
What about disc herniation?
The lumbosacral portion of the spine, which is the area between the lumbar spine and sacral spine, is a common area affected by disc herniation. Disc herniation is a common cause of lumbar radiculopathy. This issue is often caused by lifestyle, the result of other poor posture issues, lack of exercise, as well as the average wear and tear that we put on our bodies every day.
Disc herniation often begins as localized pain and then radiates to surrounding areas of the lower back and extremities. For some it is caused by injury, an accident, as well as lifting or twisting motions that continue to add stress to the source of the problem. Chiropractic treatment focuses on finding the source of the herniated disc and determining the best treatment option for each individual patient.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Radiating Lower Back Pain
You may be wondering what caused your pain, and you are definitely wondering how you can turn this terrible process around and start living your life again! The human body is an intricate machine all sourced from the wellness of your spinal nerves. When the lumbar alignment is altered, all the nerves and organs in your body are ultimately affected. Chiropractic care focuses on finding the source of your pain. This non-invasive and proven method of chiropractic adjustments also addresses other associated issues related to your pain to discover the underlying causes and not just mask the symptoms.
By addressing your radiating lumbar pain, or any other discomfort you may be experiencing with chiropractic care, you are also ensuring that the rest of your body is moving towards the fully functioning machine it is meant to be. Preventative wellness is just as important as treating what is currently impacting a patient’s health.
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive treatment method that works towards stabilizing the spine and alleviating pressure on the nerves that are causing the patient’s pain. This not only treats the source of the problem, but also assists the body in proper functioning in other areas as nerve and blood flow improve and proper alignment resumes.
What are my treatment options?
You read that right…there are options other than surgery to relieve your pain! Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive treatment utilizing cutting edge technology to treat back, sciatic, leg, and nerve pain.
A thorough chiropractic examination will asses the intensity of the pain and symptoms the patient is experiencing. Prior to Spinal Decompression therapy, we will also look at your strength, walking ability, range of hip motion, reflexes, and sensations.
Decompression therapy is very successful in relieving pain caused by the compression of spinal discs and other spinal misalignment issues. This effective and non-surgical form of therapy and pain relief is a proven resource that we can offer in our Chiropractic office. Spinal Decompression is a scientifically proven method of treatment that often avoids patients having to look at surgical intervention.
Pain Relief from Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression.
Utilizing Spinal Decompression to reduce the pressure on and inside the spinal discs also helps provide oxygen, nutrients and water back into the injured discs. This healing process is vital to the health of your body’s function. Spinal decompression provides gentle traction to specific areas of the spine in order to alleviate the pressure and pain that is caused by the affected nerves.
During this therapeutic process, signals are sent to the patient’s brain in which the brain is able to reassess and acknowledge the new postural patterns via the decompression process. Spinal Decompression therapy therefore provides relief for painful radiating lower back pain, and also importantly addresses the long-term health of the spine moving forward.
This effective, quick and non-surgical treatment promotes a more open space for spinal nerve roots and stabilizes the spine. Patients with various types of pain and physical issues turn to spinal decompression therapy for relief and healing.
How can Spinal Decompression help me?
This advanced high-tech spinal therapy offers a safe and pain-free method to significantly reduce pain, reverse disc degeneration and can also eliminate further nerve damage. Through chiropractic care and decompression, the herniated or “bulging” discs in the lumbar region are drawn back into the center of the spine, thus alleviating pressure on the nerves. This allows the spine to regain alignment and motion, relieving pressure and pain from the impacted area.
Spinal decompression therapy consists of stretching the spine while using a unique traction table to relieve pain. This specialized chiropractic treatment is a type of motorized traction that gently stretches the spine, assisting the spine in reaching its ideal healthy state. Decompression alleviates pressure off of the spinal discs, allowing bulging or herniated discs to retract and take pressure off the surrounding nerves.
Treating lumbar radiculopathy using Spinal Decompression Therapy is one of the most effective non-surgical ways to treat chronic radiating back pain. In addition, combining with chiropractic treatment is one of the safest ways to treat spinal degeneration.
Lumbar radiculopathy doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of back pain and poor health.
Let CORE Chiropractic help you get back on track with personalized chiropractic care, spinal decompression and a custom treatment plan. Call today for your consultation, or schedule an appointment.