Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks, but even after just a few days of pain, your quality of life can dip. Chronic pain, regardless of what causes it, can affect your work performance, your personal relationships, and even your mental health.
As a chronic pain physician, Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy works hard to help you find relief from chronic pain at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute. If you’re in pain, we encourage you to reach out to us.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at just one source of chronic pain: radiculopathy.
The link between radiculopathy and your spine
You might know radiculopathy by another name: pinched nerves. Radiculopathy and pinched nerves both refer to the same thing 一 compression or irritation of nerve roots that exit your spine.
Your spine consists of 33 vertebrae, and nerves exit from your spine to specific parts of your body. For example, nerves that exit from your lumbar spine (lower back) travel to your legs, nerves that exit from your cervical spine (neck) travel to your arms, and nerves that exit from your thoracic spine (chest) travel to your torso. When any of these nerves become compressed or irritated, it can cause pain and discomfort in the area to which the nerve travels.
Symptoms of radiculopathy
Your symptoms may vary depending on which nerve is compressed. Cervical radiculopathy, for instance, causes symptoms that radiate away from your neck. In other words, although the pinched nerve is located in your spine, you might notice pain in your shoulder, arm, or hand.
In general, symptoms of radiculopathy include:
- Sharp pain that radiates outward
- Burning sensations that radiate outward
- Paresthesia (pins and needles sensations)
- Muscle weakness in the affected limb
- Neck pain
- Headaches (in the case of cervical radiculopathy)
Noting what your symptoms are and where the pain is located can provide valuable information when it comes to pinpointing which nerve is affected (neck, lower back, etc.).
Causes of radiculopathy
Compression is a major culprit when it comes to pinched nerves, and there are many conditions that can lead to compressed, irritated nerves. These include:
- Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis
- Disc degeneration
- Disc herniation
- Bone spurs
- Stress from repetitive motions
Risk factors for pinched nerves include obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, and overuse injuries.
Treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis. At Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute, Dr. Taimoorazy provides a comprehensive exam, reviews your symptoms, and may recommend diagnostic testing (such as X-rays and MRIs) in order to identify which condition is contributing to your pinched nerve.
Depending on why your nerve is being compressed, appropriate treatments for radiculopathy may include:
- Physical therapy
- Injections, including steroid injections
If you suspect radiculopathy is the source of your chronic pain, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. Call Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute at 424-302-0289 or request an appointment via our scheduling tool online.