Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition where a compressed nerve root in the spine causes pain in the lower back and hip. Pain can also radiate down into the back of the thigh and into the leg. Such compression in the spine is often caused by a repetitive load on the spine. This puts athletes involved in contact sports at a higher risk of this disorder, as well as people whose work requires heavy labor.
In most cases, radiculopathy is caused by degenerative disease of the spine and herniated disks. Other causes are scoliosis, fractures, and spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal is too narrow.
Radiculopathy is possible at any point in the spine, but it occurs most often in the lower back, where it’s referred to as lumbar or lumbosacral radiculopathy, and in the neck. In lumbar radiculopathy, the compressed nerve roots are at levels L1- S4. These nerves are responsible for sensations and motor functions in the legs, which is why symptoms of this disorder often extend from the lower back and into the legs.
Radiculopathy describes more types of sensations than pain alone, which gets categorized as radicular pain. It can present several symptoms along with radiating pain, including numbness, shooting pain, tingling, and paresthesia. Any of these occurrences in your lower back and legs might be a sign of lumbar radiculopathy, especially if you play a contact sport.
Additional risk factors that will increase the chances to develop lumbar radiculopathy include poor posture, poor technique, and a history of degenerative arthritis in the family. We can’t do anything about family medical history at MOTUS, but we can teach proper technique, posture, and movements, which will help protect you from the compression that leads to radiculopathy.
In order to alleviate the pain caused by lumbar radiculopathy, we need to address the underlying issue, which is whatever has caused the nerves to compress. Fixing the cause instead of just the symptom is always our treatment style at MOTUS. In order to improve symptoms from lumbar radiculopathy, we might teach you muscle training and stabilization exercises, or help manage pain with innovative tools like NMES. Our anti-gravity treadmill can also help you work on strengthening while you recover from the discomfort of radiculopathy.
Our priority is to help our patients return to their full potential. With a careful physical therapy program designed by our experienced team, you will be on the path to healing with safer, healthier movements.