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What is Radiculitis?

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Radiculitis or radiculopathy is a complex of specific symptoms associated with compression of the nerve roots extending from the spinal cord. The pathological process can be located in any part of the spinal column, but it is often localized in the lumbosacral region and called lumbar radiculopathy. This zone experiences the maximum load when the body is upright and is more prone to osteochondrosis and related diseases.

The vertebral column consists of individual vertebrae separated by cartilaginous discs. Inside the hollow canal is the spinal cord, from which the anterior and posterior nerve roots extend on each side. The former is responsible for motor functions, and the latter for sensitivity. They pass in special channels between the vertebrae and merge into a single spinal nerve, the branches responsible for one or another part of the body. Types of radiculopathy:

  • Cervical (common);
  • Thoracic symptoms;
  • Cervicothoracic;
  • Lumbar radiculopathy;
  • Lumbosacral;
  • Combined form (common);

Radiculopathy occurs in two stages:

  • At the first stage, neurological, there is an increase in sensitivity, sharp and unexpected sharp pains, characteristic muscle tension, soreness of the paravertebral points when pressed.
  • At the second stage, neurotic, there is a decrease in sensitivity in the area of ​​innervation of nerve bundles formed from damaged roots. During a medical examination, the extinction of the periosteal reflex is revealed, and then partial hypotrophy is diagnosed. Muscle tension and intense pain characteristic of the first stage are preserved.

Symptoms of radiculopathy

Symptoms of radiculopathy

Each type of radiculopathy is characterized by the presence of a certain set of symptoms.
The general symptom is pains of varying severity. The pain can range from not too intense to quite significant. Acute pain often restricts limb and body mobility and makes it impossible to lead a normal life, which affects the patient’s quality of life.

Most often, acute pain occurs in the morning- this could be:

  • Pain in the neck;
  • Headache (sometimes very intense);
  • Shoulder pain;
  • Arm pain;
  • Soreness and/or stiffness in the neck muscles;
  • Paresthesia (violation of sensitivity, accompanied by a burning sensation, tingling, numbness, cold);
  • Metabolic disorders (dryness of the skin, their peeling, coldness of the skin when touching the affected area.)

If you have these symptoms, you should start treatment without delay. Don’t rely on homemade methods. They can give only a temporary effect and will not eliminate the cause of the disease.

Only a qualified neurologist will accurately determine the type of disease, prescribe an examination and adequate treatment.
Thoracic symptoms. Along with the general symptoms characteristic of all types of radiculopathy, with the thoracic form, there are:

  • Girdle pain, pain between the shoulder blades, behind the sternum, and in the area of ​​the lower ribs;
  • Pain radiating to the shoulder and armpit;
  • Pain radiating to the middle finger;
  • Weakness of the triceps;
  • During physical examination, revealing a decrease in the tricipital reflex.

It is difficult to diagnose the disease on your own. It should be borne in mind that the symptoms of thoracic radiculopathy resemble those of angina pectoris and other dangerous diseases. Self-treatment can cause irreparable harm.

Lumbar symptoms. The lumbosacral neurological syndrome is characterized (along with similar symptoms in other types):

  • Intense pain in the foot, hip, and buttock;
  • Acute pain in the lower back, radiating to the limb;
  • Impaired motor function due to awkward tilting or sudden movement;
  • Loss of sensitivity of the lower limb, weakening of the muscles of the lower limbs.

Causes of radiculopathy

Radiculitis is formed against a background of various negative factors. The following reasons for the appearance of radiculitis are often found:

  • A sedentary lifestyle, as a result of a weak muscle corset;
  • Age-related changes in the spine;
  • The presence of metabolic, hormonal disruptions in the patient’s body;
  • The course of chronic inflammatory processes;
  • The curvature of the spinal column against the background of incorrect posture;
  • Neoplasms in the spine or nearby tissues;
  • The abnormal structure of the vertebrae, birth injuries (the cervical spine often suffers);
  • The continuous loads of dynamic and static nature;
  • The course of osteoporosis, osteochondrosis.

All of the above negative factors contribute to the onset of degenerative-dystrophic processes. Intervertebral discs lose moisture; then, elasticity, they are unable to perform a shock-absorbing function. Ultimately, the disc protrudes through the thinnest part of the annulus fibrosus. Soon the membrane ruptures completely; the nucleus pulposus protrudes outward.

This condition is considered the onset of protrusion, which provokes an intervertebral hernia. In both cases, the nerve roots are pinched; lumbar radiculopathy is formed.
Possible causes of the radicular syndrome:

  • Mechanical injury;
  • Weak back muscle;
  • Metabolic disorders;
  • Hormonal disorders;
  • Age-related degenerative changes;
  • Chronic inflammatory process;
  • The consequences of surgery;
  • Posture disorders (scoliosis, etc.);
  • Heavy physical (dynamic and static) loads;
  • Gravity loads;
  • Spinal anomalies;
  • Tumor processes;
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (due to displacement of the vertebrae);
  • Narrowing of the foraminal (intervertebral) openings;
  • Protrusion and hernia of intervertebral discs.

Diagnostics and treatment of radiculopathy

Diagnostics and treatment of radiculopathy

A neurologist at the initial visit conducts a neurological examination and finds:

  • duration;
  • the intensity of pain;
  • the nature of sensitivity disorders;
  • movement disorders.

To make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe an adequate treatment. If necessary, additional instrumental examinations can be prescribed in our clinic (X-ray examination, with the help of which the degree of deformity and degenerative-dystrophic changes, signs of instability, and displacement of the vertebrae) or in diagnostic centers of the city (magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, electromyography, etc.).

  • Treatment of lumbar radiculopathy. The beginning of treatment requires compliance with complete rest and the use of various local remedies.
    Since the effectiveness of treatment depends on establishing an accurate diagnosis and clarifying the cause that caused the compression of the nerve roots, contacting a qualified neurologist is a priority.
  • In some cases, the severity of the consequences will be less after quick help, which can be provided by an osteopathic doctor using manual or traction therapy (traction).
    The next stage of treatment is the removal of pain syndrome. For this, various medications are used that can be prescribed in the form of injections, including intravenous drip in the comfortable conditions of a day hospital.
  • The third stage is a recovery course, which starts the physiological restoration of nerves, spinal roots, and cartilaginous tissue of intervertebral discs. Patients are recommended to get massages, physiotherapy, and reflexology.

Good results are obtained by:

  • psychotherapy;
  • massage;
  • exercise therapy;
  • swimming;
  • physiotherapy;
  • spa treatment (balneological resorts);
  • galvanization;
  • phonophoresis;
  • amplipulse therapy;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • and laser magnetotherapy.

For aftercare and prevention of recurrent attacks, radon, mineral, and pearl baths are prescribed.

Prognosis of radiculopathy

In most cases, the prognosis is good. However, in some cases, patients are referred for consultation with doctors, neurosurgeons, and orthopedists.

Adverse factors:

  • Elderly age.
  • Prolonged static or physical activity.
  • Whiplash.
  • Tobacco smoking.
  • Developmental anomalies.
  • Prevention and recommendations.
  • Recommendations are general and cannot be used for self-medication.

Currently, there are many modern and effective methods. Only a qualified neurologist can determine the appropriateness of their appointment.


Is radiculopathy permanent?

Any radiculopathy is treatable, but you must remember that it is crucial to see a doctor on time.

Is it possible to warm the lower back with a heating pad for radiculopathy?

During an exacerbation of radiculopathy, it is recommended to keep the lower back warm. However, warming with a heating pad is not recommended; this can worsen the swelling of the roots and lead to increased pain. You can use special belts, including those made from dog hair, etc.

What painkillers can I take for sciatica if you have a stomach ulcer?

Many drugs used in exacerbation of radiculopathy are not recommended for patients with a history of gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer. Only a doctor can prescribe adequate treatment after an examination. Do not self-medicate.

How do you know that you have radiculitis?

Symptoms of sciatica will help determine:

  1. increased pain during movement with spread to other parts of the body;
  2. significant limitation of mobility up to the complete inability to move;
  3. at the site of the lesion, the sensitivity of the skin is disturbed.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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