Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy Treatment in Orange County

Radiculopathy refers to a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (a neuropathy). The location of the injury is at the level of the nerve root. This can result in pain, weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.

Radiculopathy is caused by compression or irritation of the nerves as they exit the spine. This can be due to mechanical compression of the nerve by a disc herniation, a bone spur (osteophytes) from osteoarthritis, or from thickening of surrounding ligaments.
The symptoms of radiculopathy depend on which nerves are affected. Symptoms of Radiculopathy include:

  • Numbness and tingling in the arms or legs
  • Localized neck or back pain
  • Pain from the middle back hat travels around to the chest
  • Hypersensitivity to light touch that feels painful in the area involved

Initial treatment will involve thorough medical history and physical exam, including the patient’s symptoms. To help detect Radiculopathy, Robert Louis, MD conducts a neurological exam and may request for diagnostic imaging to find the exact location that’s causing the symptoms of Radiculopahy.

Computerized tomography (CT Scan): CT scan may aid in determining the exact location of disc causing the nerve root and spinal cord compression.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):Advanced cases of Cervical Osteoarthritis show abnormal signal within the spinal cord on MRI imaging. In case of atrophy of the spinal cord due to nerve cell loss, also referred to as myelomalacia, surgical outcomes may not be as promising.

Electromyogram (EMG): Looks at the electrical activity along the nerve and can show if there is damage to the nerve.

Most people can obtain good relief of their symptoms of radiculopathy with conservative treatment. This may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, and avoiding activity that strains the neck or back. The majority of radiculopathy patients respond well to this conservative treatment, and symptoms often improve within 6 weeks to 3 months. If patients do not improve with the treatments listed above they may benefit from an epidural steroid injection. If treatments are unsuccessful and the symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option. The goal of the surgery is to remove the compression from the affected nerve. Depending on the cause of the radiculopathy, this can be done by a laminectomy or a discectomy.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Robert Louis, MD specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, wherein he incorporates his education, experience and training in cutting edge technology and instrumentation.

Robert Louis, MD, a fellowship-trained Orange County Neurosurgeon, is the Director of the Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County, California. Dr. Louis has particular expertise in endoscopic and minimally invasive treatment of brain and spinal conditions.

Dr. Robert Louis specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery for the treatment of Radiculopathy. For appointments, please call (949) 383-4185 or Contact Us.