Lumbar Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is a painful condition resulting from compression or inflammation of spinal nerves. Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition in which the spinal nerves around the lumbar region (lower back) are compressed or pinched leading to pain, numbness or weakness, and tingling sensation.

What are the causes of radiculopathy?

Lumbar radiculopathy is caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to the nerve roots in the lumbar region (lower back). Conditions such as herniated or damaged disc, narrowing of spinal canal (spinal stenosis), bony spurs or outgrowths, and arthritic changes can compress the spinal nerves. Infection and tumour in the lumbar region are less common causes for lumbar radiculopathy.

What are the symptoms of radiculopathy?

Symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy include pain, numbness or weakness, and tingling sensation in the lower back and buttocks that radiates down to the legs. The symptoms often resemble sciatic pain due to inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

How is lumbar radiculopathy diagnosed?

Your physician diagnoses lumbar radiculopathy based on symptoms, medical history, and a complete physical examination of the lower back (lumbar spine). A confirmed diagnosis can be made based on the findings from imaging studies such as X-ray, CT (contrast tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), nerve conduction studies, and electromyography.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment of lumbar radiculopathy depends on the actual cause of radiculopathy and includes both non-surgical and surgical approaches.

Non-surgical therapy

Resting, using braces for support, and regular physical therapy and exercise are the available non-surgical treatment options. Physicians may also recommend use of medications to relieve pain and inflammation (anti-inflammatory drugs), and muscle strain (muscle relaxants). Steroid injections are used for acute relief of severe pain.

Surgical therapy

Your physician recommends surgery only after non-surgical treatment fails to relieve the symptoms. The available surgical options to treat lumbar radiculopathy include laminectomy and/or discectomy or microdiscectomy. The surgical procedure involves removing pressure on the spinal nerves by cutting or removing part of the lamina (the bony roof over the disc) or any disc material that is compressing the spinal nerve structures.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400