Pain Management

Lumbar Radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy is often secondary to compression or inflammation of a lumbar spinal nerve. When the pain radiates down the back of the leg to the calf or foot, it would in lay terms be defined as sciatica. It is commonly characterized by motor and/or sensory changes along the involved dermatome in the lower limb.

This radicular pain may also be accompanied by numbness and tingling, muscle weakness and loss of specific reflexes. The pain is often deep and steady and can usually be reproduced with certain movements, such as standing, sitting or walking. In addition, radicular pain is frequently aggravated by any manoeuvre that increases the intrabdominal pressure, such as Valsalva, sneezing, or cough. This orthopaedic examination will be carried out by the Chiropractor is radiculopathy is suspected.

Although many people heard and know about sciatica, yet there are some confusions about it. First of all, sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Many individuals with sciatica present with other associated symptoms of which the root cause is the irritation of a spinal nerve. However, it is one of the most common pain originated from a nerve root irritation of the lumbar spine. Individuals who experience sciatica typically has severe leg pain that is much worse than the low back pain. The specific areas of the leg and/or foot that are affected depends on which nerve in the low back is involved.

Possible and common causes of sciatica include but not limited to:

  • Herniated disc with nerve compression – by far the most common cause of radiculopathy
  • Foraminal stenosis (narrowing of the hole through which the spinal nerve exits due
    to bone spurs or arthritis) – more common in elderly adults
  • Diabetes
  • Nerve root injuries (Whiplash injuries)
  • Scar tissue from previous spinal surgery that is affecting the nerve root
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type I Infection
  • Piriformis Syndrome

Can Chiropractic help with your lumbar radiculopathy?

Lumbar radiculopathy is commonly associated with low back pain sufferers. It can cause severe discomfort and disabilities, and therefore it is advised not to ignore the symptoms and seek help as soon as possible. Chiropractors are highly trained to diagnose, treat, and manage this problem effectively and conservatively without surgical procedure. However, if nerve root irritation is too advanced and has numerous complications, you might be referred to an orthopaedic doctor.

Research studies have shown great effectiveness in the treatment of sciatica with Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation. Conservation treatment methods like spinal manipulation to improve joint motion restrictions, and spinal traction have been well documented to improve patient’s radicular pain.


  • Manipulation or Microdiskectomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010 (Oct); 33 (8):576–584

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