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Are you experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your body?

Are any of these symptoms affecting your ability to work or just be comfortable and enjoy life?

You may have a condition called radiculopathy or “a pinched nerve.” It is a common condition among people over the age of 50, but symptoms can start as early as 30 years old.

If you have radiculopathy or a compressed or “pinched nerve” root, read this article to learn about your options and proper treatments to protect yourself from radiculopathy and doctors that overprescribe spinal injections.

What is Radiculopathy?

Radiculopathy is a condition created by a compressed nerve in any part (but most common in the neck and lower back) of the spine. The symptoms of radiculopathy include: pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness anywhere along the nerve.  If you have any of these symptoms make sure you consult your doctor immediately. According to Chiro.org and a study done in Rochester, Minnesota, for every 100,000 people 83.2 people were at least mildly affected by symptoms of radiculopathy.

How to Protect Yourself Against Radiculopathy

Repetitive or excessive activities that put stress on the spine are the biggest contributors to developing radiculopathy.

Some contributing activities include:

  • Heavy labor jobs
  • Contact sports
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention Strategies

Living a healthy lifestyle is your number one defense against developing this irritating and potentially debilitating condition.

While there is not a specific preventive action, you can improve your chances of avoiding radiculopathy by maintaining a healthy body weight, good muscle tone, and reduce the amount of strain you put on your neck and spine.

Serious Causes of Radiculopathy

It should also be noted that radiculopathy can be caused by more serious issues: 

  • Tumor
  • Infection
  • Disc herniation
  • Bone spur
  • Ligament thickening
  • Scoliosis

Available Treatments for a Pinched Nerve

Check out this study from JMPT in 2013, entitled “symptomatic MRI-confirmed lumbar disc herniation patients comparing high-velocity low amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or image guided lumbar nerve root injections.” In the study, they tested two groups. One group used spinal manipulative therapy and the other spinal root injections. Both groups experienced reductions in pain scores, but the most astonishing finding was 7 percent more spinal manipulative patients (60 percent reduction) experienced pain reduction scores than the nerve injection group (53 percent reduction).

Keep this in mind when your doctor immediately recommends an injection.

Under normal situations, patients can achieve significant relief within 1.5 to 3 months with light treatments. The first approach is a combination of an X-ray or MRI, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, anti-inflammatory medications and rest.

Summary

There’s isn’t any reason why you should be in pain during daily life. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle and bodyweight you will significantly reduce your likelihood of developing radiculopathy.

Radiculopathy causes people to live in an uncomfortable state to severe pain. It stops people from being happy and lively, and symptoms can start as early as 30 years old.

My hope is you use this information to prevent any or all of these symptoms and if you’re having any pain consult your doctor and get help.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Casey Bearden