Lumbar radiculopathy treatments typically are designed to help you feel better and maintain your current level of activity. Very often, however, lumbar radiculopathy treatment in NYC means giving up those sports that led you to extreme lumbar pain. Treatment of lumbar radiculopathy can include lifestyle changes and regular exercise aimed at keeping you flexible may also require long-term pain relief and even surgery. Come to our sports injury and pain management clinic to get your pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our pain doctor Febin Melepura M.D. to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best sports pain management specialists in NYC.
Break it down. Lumbar means lower back, and radiculopathy is the pathology of a nerve root. This basically means it’s a pinched nerve in your back, which may also resemble sciatica symptoms. Lumbar radiculopathy is commonly the result of a disc problem like inflammation or wear and tear.
Sciatica is pain that radiates from your back and down your leg. This commonly happens in people between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can happen to anyone. While it can occur without warning, it often follows an injury. If you’re feeling worried, take comfort in knowing there are several lumbar radiculopathy treatments.
Discover if You Need Lumbar Radiculopathy Treatments
The easiest way to find out if you need treatment for lumbar radiculopathy is to ask yourself if you have back pain, and then narrow it down to pain in the lower back and/or pain in your leg. Visit your Manhattan sports medicine doctor for a more definitive diagnosis. For starters, he’ll look for:
- Numbness or tingling in your back, arms or legs
- Sciatica that radiates through your back and limbs
- Hypersensitivity in either leg
- Weakness in a leg
- Slowing or loss of reflexes
Any nerve coming out of your lower spine can be affected by lumbar radiculopathy. Generally, the pain stays on one side. It’s usually described as a sharp or searing pain, instead of a dull or aching pain. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical care and start on the path for lumbar radiculopathy treatment.
The symptoms are a direct result of various causes. One cause may be disease. But more commonly, it’s the result of a structural problem. For example, another possible cause is a pinched nerve that stem from spinal nerve roots.
This makes the recommended treatment for lumbar radiculopathy non-surgical at first. Common factors that lead to lumbar radiculopathy include:
- Age, age-related diseases and degeneration
- Congenital spine issues
- Overly thick ligaments
- Other spinal conditions, like bone spurs or disc herniation
- Repetitive movements from heavy lifting, manual labor or other highly physical activities
- Contact sports such as football and hockey
Diagnosis Is the Key to Feeling Better
Lumbar radiculopathy treatment starts with being diagnosed by a leading New York City sports medicine professional with pain management experience. If you’re experiencing symptoms, be prepared to talk about your medical history and have a thorough physical. Your doctor looks for limitations in movement of your spine. Other characteristics that your doctor looks for include balance issues, muscle weakness and abnormal reflexes.
The doctor can also order an x-ray or MRI image of your lower spine to confirm the diagnosis. There are other options if you have a pacemaker or stimulator. If your condition is serious enough, you may be asked to take a nerve test or electromyography (EMG). After the diagnosis, your treatment for lumbar radiculopathy varies.
Plenty of Personalized Treatments
With many non-invasive options for lumbar radiculopathy treatments, doctors usually opt for medication or therapy. Treatment can be as easy as reducing pain and swelling with oral medication. Other medicine options include:
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen that decrease swelling, pain and fever
- Oral steroids
- Steroid injections that provide pain relief that may last as long as six months
- Muscle relaxers
- Opioids, a strong medicine given to reduce severe pain
Typically, doctors lean towards non-surgical treatment of lumbar radiculopathy. Before surgery is even considered, your doctor may try:
- Spinal decompression
- Temperature treatments to stimulate blood flow
- Limiting activity
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy is a great first step toward easing your pain from lumbar radiculopathy. Your physical therapist may work on improving your posture and provide basic exercises. Certain stretches improve flexibility and strengthen your lower back. The therapist can also teach you to remain safe and avoid additional injury by reducing pressure on the spine.
Managing the Pain
If you’ve tried everything else, or your doctor feels it’s medically necessary, surgery is an option. While there are several options for surgical treatment, it’s a last resort, used only to treat people with severe pain, mobility issues or difficulty going to the bathroom. Surgical options for lumbar radiculopathy range from a simple discectomy to chemonucleolysis, which involves dissolving some of the inflamed cushioning between disks.
The best form of pain management is to keep exercising lightly and avoid the activities that cause you the most pain. Taking walks and avoiding long periods of bed rest ensure your symptoms don’t worsen. Stick to normal range of motion activities, and avoid heavy lifting. Keep the area in pain moving, but not stressed. You want to help yourself, not hurt yourself.
Do you have any questions about the lumbar radiculopathy treatment options we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best back pain management doctor Febin Melepura MD of sports injury clinic in NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.