|Classification and external resources|
|ICD-9||723.4, 724.4, 729.2|
Radiculopathy refers to a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (a neuropathy). The emphasis is on the nerve root (radix = "root"). This can result in pain (radicular pain), weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.
In a radiculopathy, the problem occurs at or near the root of the nerve, along the spine. However, the pain or other symptoms often radiate to the part of the body served by that nerve. For example, a nerve root impingement in the neck can produce pain and weakness in the forearm. Likewise, an impingement in the lower back or lumbar-sacral spine can be manifested with symptoms in the foot.
Polyradiculopathy refers to the condition where more than one spinal nerve root is affected.
Affected nerves may be inflamed, pinched (compressed), or working ineffectively due to a lack of blood flow. The nerve could be affected by a progressive disease that is destroying it in part or in whole. Additionally, pinched nerves can be caused by excessive pressure caused by surrounding bones, muscle, cartilage, and tendons. The "straight leg raise test" is often used to diagnose a lumbar or sacral nerve root radiculopathy.
Forms of radiculopathy and related conditions:
- Lumbar radiculopathy
- Cervical radiculopathy: radiculopathy in the cervical spine
- Thoracic radiculopathy; radiculopathy in the thoracic spine
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Piriformis syndrome
- Lyme disease
Ideally, effective treatment aims to resolve the underlying cause and restores the nerve root to normal function. Common mainstream treatment approaches include physical therapy, medication, and relaxation. A comprehensive systematic review found moderate quality evidence that spinal manipulation is effective for the treatment of acute lumbar radiculopathy. Only low level evidence was found to support spinal manipulation for the treatment of chronic lumbar and cervical spine-related radiculopathies, and no evidence was found to exist for treatment of thoracic radiculopathy.
See also 
- Eck, Jason C. "Radiculopathy". MedicineNet.com. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "What Is Pinched Nerve In Neck?". Pinched Nerve In Neck. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Seated or Supine Straight Leg Raise Test: Does It Matter?". Orthopod. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Leininger B, Bronfort G, Evans R, Reiter T (2011). "Spinal manipulation or mobilization for radiculopathy: a systematic review". Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 22 (1): 105–125. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2010.11.002. PMID 21292148.
- Radiculopathy at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- More on Radiculopathy
- Youtube video: Spine & Nerve Health with Dr. Aaron Filler (comparing Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome)
- Neck and Arm Pain Infographic, Cervical Radiculopathy from the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York