Understanding Radiculopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

radiculopathy treatment_Momentum Medical

Radiculopathy is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing significant discomfort and impacting daily life. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on radiculopathy, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available at Momentum Medical, your trusted healthcare provider in central Florida.

What is Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy, often referred to as a pinched nerve, occurs when a nerve in the spine is compressed or irritated. This compression can lead to pain, numbness, or weakness radiating from the spine to other parts of the body, depending on which nerve is affected. Radiculopathy can affect any part of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (lower back) regions.

Causes of Radiculopathy

Several factors can contribute to the development of radiculopathy, including:

Herniated Discs

One of the most common causes of radiculopathy is a herniated disc. The spine comprises vertebrae, separated by discs that act as cushions to absorb shock. When the soft material inside a spinal disc pushes out through a tear in its outer layer, it can press on nearby nerves, leading to radiculopathy.

Degenerative Disc Disease

As we age, the spinal discs can lose their height and elasticity due to wear and tear, a condition known as degenerative disc disease. This degeneration can cause the discs to collapse, leading to nerve compression and radiculopathy.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are bony growths that can develop along the edges of the vertebrae. These spurs can narrow the space where nerves travel, leading to nerve compression and radiculopathy.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the spinal canal’s narrowing, which can pressure the spinal cord and nerves. This condition is often caused by age-related changes in the spine, such as the thickening of ligaments, the formation of bone spurs, and the enlargement of joints.


Trauma to the spine, such as from a car accident or a fall, can lead to nerve compression and radiculopathy. Injuries can cause herniated discs, fractures, or dislocations that put pressure on the nerves.

Other Causes

Other potential radiculopathy causes include tumors, infections, and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions can lead to swelling and nerve pressure, resulting in radiculopathy.

Spine and Nerves affecting radiculopathy

Symptoms of Radiculopathy

The symptoms of radiculopathy vary depending on the location of the affected nerve. Common symptoms include:

Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Pain radiating from the neck into the shoulders, arms, and hands
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers
  • Muscle weakness in the arms and hands
  • Reduced reflexes in the arms

Thoracic Radiculopathy

  • Pain in the upper back that can radiate to the chest or abdomen
  • Numbness or tingling in the chest or abdomen
  • Muscle weakness in the chest or abdomen
  • Difficulty with movements involving the upper back

Lumbar Radiculopathy

  • Pain radiating from the lower back into the buttocks, legs, and feet (often referred to as sciatica)
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs and feet
  • Muscle weakness in the legs and feet
  • Reduced reflexes in the legs

The severity of symptoms can vary, with some individuals experiencing mild discomfort and others suffering from severe pain and functional limitations.

cervical radiculopathy

Diagnosing Radiculopathy

Accurate diagnosis of radiculopathy involves a thorough medical history and physical examination. Diagnostic tests may include:

MRI or CT Scans

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans can provide detailed images of the spine, revealing herniated discs, bone spurs, and other abnormalities that may be causing nerve compression.


X-rays can help identify changes in the alignment or structure of the spine, such as fractures, dislocations, or degenerative changes.

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscles to diagnose nerve damage and assess the function of the affected nerves.

Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS)

Nerve conduction studies (NCS) involve stimulating specific nerves and measuring the speed and strength of the resulting nerve signals. This test can help identify the location and severity of nerve compression.

Treatment Options for Radiculopathy

At Momentum Medical, we offer a range of therapies to manage and treat radiculopathy, focusing on non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments. Our approaches include:

Non-Surgical Treatments

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a cornerstone of radiculopathy treatment. Customized exercise programs aim to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, improve flexibility, and relieve pressure on the affected nerves. Physical therapists at Momentum Medical work with patients to develop personalized plans that address their specific needs and goals.


Medications can help manage the symptoms of radiculopathy. Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can reduce pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed to alleviate muscle spasms, while nerve pain medications can target the specific nerve pain associated with radiculopathy.

Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural steroid injections involve injecting corticosteroids into the epidural space around the spinal cord. These injections can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain, relieving patients with radiculopathy. The effects of epidural steroid injections can last for several months, allowing patients to participate in physical therapy and other treatments.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on improving the alignment and function of the spine through spinal adjustments and manipulations. Chiropractors at Momentum Medical use gentle techniques to relieve nerve pressure and improve overall spinal health.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses sound waves to disrupt the nerve signals causing pain and stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. This procedure can provide long-lasting pain relief for patients with radiculopathy.

Spinal Decompression

Non-surgical spinal decompression involves using a traction table to gently stretch the spine, relieving pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This treatment can help alleviate pain and improve mobility for patients with radiculopathy.

Why Choose Momentum Medical?

Momentum Medical is dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for patients suffering from radiculopathy. With eight convenient locations across central Florida, we offer easy access to advanced medical treatments and personalized care plans to address your unique needs. 

Our Commitment

At Momentum Medical, we combine cutting-edge technology with a patient-centered approach. Our team of experienced healthcare professionals is committed to helping you regain your quality of life through effective non-surgical treatment and ongoing support. We understand that each patient is unique, and we strive to provide individualized care that addresses your specific needs and concerns.

Comprehensive Care

Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, and pain management specialists, all working together to provide comprehensive care for radiculopathy. We use the latest diagnostic tools and treatment techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Patient Education

At Momentum Medical, we believe that patient education is a crucial component of effective treatment. We take the time to explain your condition, treatment options, and expected outcomes, empowering you to make informed decisions about your health.

Convenience and Accessibility

With eight locations across central Florida, Momentum Medical offers convenient access to high-quality care. Our clinics are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and staffed by compassionate professionals dedicated to your well-being.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of radiculopathy, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Momentum Medical today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Momentum Medical: Your Partner in Pain Relief, Health, and Wellness.

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