A diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy may sound rare and strange until you learn that it’s the medical term for the condition commonly called sciatica, a compression of the spinal nerve root originating in the lumbar vertebrae. It’s a common complaint, one of the most frequent reasons people contact neurosurgeons. Lumbar radiculopathy may affect up to five percent of the American population.
While most causes of this nerve condition heal naturally, there are some instances where the pain becomes chronic. When you can’t relieve your symptoms with rest and home care, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center. Specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of lumbar radiculopathy, our doctors stay at the progressive edge of the neurosurgery field, incorporating the latest innovations, including minimally invasive techniques to speed your recovery time when surgery is the only solution.
Addressing back pain early is the best way to avoid surgery altogether. Here are seven nonsurgical treatments that could bring relief without the need for an operating room.
1. Physical therapy
Exercise under the guidance of a physical therapist is the key focus of conservative treatment of back pain. A custom routine developed for your back pain can help build the strength of muscles that support your spine while improving the mechanics of movement.
2. Drug therapy
Over-the-counter and prescription medicines, including analgesics, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants, could be part of your treatment plan. Since many pharmacologic solutions come with harmful side effects, drug therapy is often short term to relieve pain while other treatments take effect.
3. Injection-based treatments
Corticosteroid injections, nerve blocks, nerve ablations, and other techniques may prove effective when the location of nerve compression is known, or they may be useful diagnostically for locating the source of pain.
4. Activity modifications
Modifying the impact of lumbar radiculopathy could get a boost from activity and task analysis. Identifying what movements or jobs aggravate your pain serves as a basis for finding alternatives. For instance, using a cart to transport groceries may remove a cause of nerve irritation.
5. Diet changes
When you eat processed foods high in refined sugar and trans fats, your diet could contribute to inflammation in your body, including around your spinal nerve roots. Losing extra pounds also takes strain off the spinal column.
6. Alternative medicine
While not effective for everyone, alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care may be part of a successful plan for easing the impact of lumbar radiculopathy. Electrical nerve stimulation and biofeedback are other alternatives that prove useful for some.
Living with chronic pain creates both physical and emotional stress, often resulting in moodiness, anger, and depression. Meditative therapies including yoga, tai chi, and controlled breathing exercises may provide tools that help you cope with back pain.
Sometimes, the solution for your lumbar radiculopathy pain requires attention from several directions. What works for one person may have little effect for another, and the best treatment options must fit your lifestyle in a sustainable way. Contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center by phone or online at any of our three locations to schedule your personal consultation.