Radiculopathy refers to a change in neurological function when inflammation or damage affects a nerve root (for example, a pinched nerve). Depending on the location of the pinched nerve, radiculopathy will categorize as one of three types:

  • Cervical radiculopathy (neck).
  • Thoracic radiculopathy (upper middle back).
  • Lumbar radiculopathy (low back).

What are the symptoms of radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy can result in neurological deficits, which include numbness, slowed reflexes, and weakness. These symptoms may radiate outwards from the source and into the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Paresthesia, the pins-and-needles feeling that accompanies numbness, may also radiate down into the arms and legs and can range from achy to shocking or burning. The area around the pinched nerve may feel painful, numb, or tingly. 

The symptoms of radiculopathy will vary based on the type of radiculopathy you have:

  • Cervical radiculopathy: You may have pain and other symptoms in and around your neck. These symptoms can also radiate to your arms and hands.
  • Thoracic radiculopathy: You’ll likely have pain in and around your chest and when breathing.
  • Lumbar radiculopathy: There may be pain or numbness in your lower back. This sensation can spread to your legs.

What are the causes of radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy is caused by a pinched nerve in your spine. More specifically, it happens when one of your nerve roots (where your nerves join your spinal column) is compressed or irritated. You might see it referred to as radiculitis. The roots of your spinal nerves can be compressed or irritated by bone spurs growing on one of your vertebrae or traumas like falls or car accidents. 

Radiculopathy can develop with no direct cause other than aging. As you age, your bones and the discs in your spine lose their shape and flexibility. This natural degeneration and weakening can cause your spine to shift enough to pinch a nerve.

The two most common causes of radiculopathy include:

  • Foraminal stenosis: This occurs when the bony opening where a nerve root exits the spinal canal starts to narrow. The opening, known as the Foramin, can impinge nerve roots as it narrows. Changes in the bone related to osteoarthritis and/or degenerative disc disease can cause bone spurs, thickening ligaments, or bulging discs that push against the nerve in the foramen. Foraminal stenosis is the most common cause of radiculopathy.
  • Herniated discs: If the material of a vertebral disc pushing out and inflames or impinges the spinal nerve, it can cause radiculopathy. A herniated disc more likely occurs from an injury or strenuous activity, which explains why it appears more prevalently in the younger population.

Cervical radiculopathy (radiculopathy in the neck) is a rare condition that occurs slightly more often in men than women. This is more likely to occur in older people due to spinal degeneration, with some estimates putting the highest risk for ages 50 to 54. When cervical radiculopathy occurs in younger people, This is more likely due to disc herniation or injury.


What are the treatment options for radiculopathy? 

There is a wide range of treatment options available for radiculopathy. The type of treatment will mainly depend on the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms as well as the severity.

Some surgeries go through a small incision to remove the spinal disc (which may be herniated or damaged) and then fuses that level of the spine to restore its normal height. This gives the spinal nerves enough room to ensure the stability of the spine. 

Instead of doing a fusion, some procedures replace the problematic disc with an artificial one. The potential benefits of this procedure include maintaining the mobility of the spine instead of fusing two vertebrae together.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists diagnose and treat patients with medical problems or injuries that limit their ability to take part in their daily lives. Patients will usually see a physical therapist after a referral by their primary physician. Physical therapists work with patients who have experienced an injury or disease that has affected their movement and range of motion.

At Nextgen Pain & Injury Clinic, our team of licensed physical therapists and rehabilitation experts will focus on your total health and wellness. Regardless of the cause or source of your pain, we will develop a treatment plan with your unique issues in mind.

Our treatment philosophy emphasizes evidence-based manual and therapeutic exercise techniques that are tailored toward efficiently returning patients, athletes, and employees to their pre-injury status. We treat orthopedic and sports injuries and provide spinal rehabilitation, post-surgical rehabilitation, and industrial rehabilitation. Personalized physical therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions.

  • Chronic and acute medical problems
  • Knee pain
  • Back pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Chronic medical problems
  • Neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries

Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

Related Links & Resources

Conditions & Services

Pain Management

Auto Injury

Workplace Injury

Personal Injury

Neck & Back Injury

Knee Pain

Joint Pain

Regenerative Medicine

Physical Therapy

Aquatic Therapy

Vestibular Rehab

Traumatic Brain Injury

We’re Always Just Around the Corner.

Our clinics are conveniently located to provide care for the DFW area.

Dallas, TX

7901 John Carpenter Freeway
Dallas, TX 75247

Click to Call Dallas Office

Telephone Receiver on Apple iOS 13.3 972-382-9992

Arlington, TX

801 Road to Six Flags West, Suite 146
Arlington, TX 76012

Click to Call Arlington Office

Telephone Receiver on Apple iOS 13.3 817-887-8182