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Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica): Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, Treatment in Dallas & Mansfield, tx The spine is made up of 33 bones known as vertebrae. These bones or vertebrae protect the spinal cord from injury or trauma. These bones also allow you to stand upright, bend, and twist.

These bones are held together by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. There are nerves around the spine that extends to other areas of the body including the hand, arms, and legs.

There are three major regions of the spine and they perform specific functions. These three major regions are:

  • Cervical spine or neck
  • Thoracic spine or mid-back
  • Lumbar spine or lower back

Lumbar radiculopathy, also known as Sciatica is a condition that occurs when a nerve root or nerve in the lumbar spine is compressed, irritated, or damaged.

The nerve in the lumbar spine, also known as sciatic nerve is the nerve that begins from the lumbar spine or lowers back and runs down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve provides sensation to the skin of the leg and foot.

Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica): Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, Treatment in Dallas & Mansfield Injury, irritation, compression, or damage of the sciatic nerve can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the lower back down to the hip, buttock, and/or hips.

Causes of Lumbar Radiculopathy 

Herniated disc is the common cause of lumbar radiculopathy. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or compressed by a herniated disk, you may begin to feel pain or numbness.Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica): Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, Treatment in Dallas & Mansfield, TX

Overgrowth of bone, also known as bone spur around the nerve can compress the nerve, causing pain.

Other causes of lumbar radiculopathy may include:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spine injury
  • Tumors around the spine
  • Infection of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Cauda equine syndrome

Risk factors of Lumbar Radiculopathy 

There are certain factors that may increase your risk of lumbar radiculopathy. These include:


Older people are more at a higher risk of lumbar radiculopathy. This is due to degenerative disc changes that occur in older people which can cause herniated disc or bone spurs.


Excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes due to the stress exerted on the spine.


People that are doing jobs whereby they constantly need to twist and bend their backs are more prone to sciatica. Carrying heavy loads, bending down, typing on the laptop for a long period of time, or driving a vehicle for a long period of time can strain the spine.

Prolonged sitting

Sitting on a particular position for a long period of time may increase your risk of sciatica.


People with diabetes have an increased risk of nerve damage.

Symptoms of Lumbar Radiculopathy 

The most common symptom is pain that radiates from your lumbar spine to your buttock and down to the back of your leg. The pain can feel like a mild ache, sharp pain, burning sensation, electric shock, or excruciating pain. You may feel the pain on one side of your body.

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling of discomfort anywhere along the nerve pathway
  • Numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg
  • Feeling of pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part

Diagnosis of Lumbar Radiculopathy 

During diagnosis, your doctor will review your medical history and conduct a physical exam. Your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes.

Your doctor may also ask you certain questions and ask about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

If your doctor is not satisfied with the diagnosis or still doesn’t know the root cause of your symptoms, he or she will recommend imaging tests such as x-ray, MRI, or CT scan to check the internal structure of your spine for any problems.

Your doctor may also conduct an Electromyography (EMG) test. This test is done to measure the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test can confirm if there is nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal.

Treatment of Lumbar Radiculopathy 

Treatment options for lumbar radiculopathy include:


Resting and avoiding strenuous activities and sports can help relieve pain by taking pressure off the lumbar spinal cord.

Applying Ice and heat

Placing ice packs wrapped in a towel on the skin around the pain area can help relieve pain and swelling. After some days, you can place heated pads on the pain are to relieve pain. You can do this for 15-20 minutes at a time several times in a day.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help to relieve pain and inflammation.


Your doctor may prescribe opioids for pain relief if over-the-counter pain relievers don’t relieve your pain. Opioids can become addictive; hence they are used as short-term pain medications.

Other medications

Other medications that your doctor may recommend depending on your condition and severity of your pain include muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, narcotics, and anti-seizure medications. Some of these medications are addictive; hence they are used for a short period of time to prevent addiction.

Physical therapy

There are certain stretching and strengthening exercises that you can engage in to strengthen and improve flexibility in your neck and back. You can ask your doctor to recommend a certified physical therapist that will help you through the exercise.

Steroid injections

Injecting corticosteroids into the epidural space around the affected nerve root helps to numb the pain and reduce inflammation.


Surgery is the last option when all other treatment options have failed to improve your condition. When your pain doesn’t improve with other treatments or get worse, when you are experiencing significant weakness and increased discomfort, surgery may be recommended.

Surgery that may be recommended include lumbar laminectomy or discectomy

Lumbar laminectomy is a surgery used to widen a narrowed spinal carnal in the lower back to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Discectomy is a surgery that involves the removal of some parts or the entire herniated disk causing the pain. The herniated disk will be replaced with an artificial disk.


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