Radiculopathy - Treatments

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What is the treatment for radiculopathy?

Fortunately, most people can obtain good relief of their symptoms of radiculopathy with conservative treatment. This may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, and avoiding activity that strains the neck or back. The majority of radiculopathy patients respond well to this conservative treatment, and symptoms often improve within 6 weeks to 3 months.

If patients do not improve with the treatments listed above they may benefit from an epidural steroid injection. With the help of an X-ray machine, a physician injects steroid medication between the bones of the spine adjacent to the involved nerves. This can help to rapidly reduce the inflammation and irritation of the nerve and help reduce the symptoms of radiculopathy.

In some cases the symptoms continue despite all of the above treatment options. If this occurs and the symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option. The goal of the surgery is to remove the compression from the affected nerve. Depending on the cause of the radiculopathy, this can be done by a laminectomy or a discectomy. A laminectomy removes a small portion of the bone covering the nerve to allow it to have additional space. A discectomy removes the portion of the disc that has herniated out and is compressing a nerve.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Evelyn, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 19

I have some pain in left chest when trying to breathe deep. The pericarditis pain is relieved by 400 mg ibuprofen every 4 hours, so far only twice. I had surgery 3 weeks ago to repair a navel hernia. I take 20 mg fluoxetine, 25 mg hydrocodone, 200 mg Feno-Micro, 20 mg atorvastatin, 60mg Mylan nifedipine extended release and 80 mg valsartan.

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Comment from: Lucy Lock, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 02

I am interested to read the various contributions regarding radiculopathy. I had a horrendous time about 10 years ago, I thought I was going crazy. I had unbelievable pain but only at night; it started each evening at 9 pm and ceased at 7:30. During the day I was a bit wonky with walking, but I grew to dread the nights. Finally I got referred to a neurosurgeon who in the end after a lumbar puncture prescribed mega doses of steroids which stopped it. Apparently my blood showed a massive increase in the inflammation index. I also lost about 20 kilos, probably due to the inflammation. I am not sure if this is very helpful, but even the doctors seem to be stumbling around in the dark and I am wondering why the pain should return each night without fail.

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