What is Radiculitis & How is it Treated?

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 8, 2016

spinal radiculitis

Last week, we wrote a blog post where we described how steroid injections could help patients with radiculitis. We kind of glossed over the condition in the article, so we wanted to loop back and dive deeper into radiculitis. Below, we take a look at some of the causes, symptoms and treatment options for radiculitis.

Radiculitis Causes and Symptoms

Radiculitis isn’t actually an injury in and of itself; it’s actually just a term used to describe a variety of neurological symptoms in your spine. Radiculitis describes the symptoms a person feels when a nerve in the spine is compressed, inflamed, irritated or pinched. The symptoms can affect any area in your spine, but they are most common in the cervical and lumbar portions of your spine.

Symptoms include:

  • Tingling
  • Radiating pain along the nerve path
  • Numbness
  • A “pins and needles” sensation in the spine
  • Muscle weakness
  • Delayed/Loss of reflexes

Symptoms will be felt in throughout the spine and may extend into your extremities. Radiculitis in your cervical spine will generally lead to symptoms in your shoulders, arms and hands, while radiculitis in your lumbar spine will likely extend to your legs and feet.

Treatment of Radiculitis

As with most spine issues, treatment of radiculitis revolves around diagnosing and caring for the underlying cause. Conservative treatments like rest, stretching and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may help prevent symptoms, but they usually do not treat the root cause.

Your doctor will likely get to the bottom of your pain with the assistance of an X-ray, MRI or ultrasound. Once they understand what’s causing your pain, they can get to work with a treatment strategy. For some, all that’s needed if a few rounds with a chiropractor or a targeted injection to quell a damaged nerve, but others may need to go under the knife. Oftentimes a minimally invasive operation can free the damaged nerve or remove other problems (like bone spurs or a tumor) that are contributing to your symptoms.

In the end, there is no “one size fits all” treatment to addressing radiculitis, and it’s not something that should be treated lightly. If you’re experiencing muscle weakness or radiating spinal pain, set up a consultation with a skilled back specialist today.

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