Dr. Giovanini 850.934.7545   |   Dr. Metzger 850.466.2703

Patient Resources

New Patients

Radiculopathy: Could Your Leg or Arm Pain Be Caused by a Spinal Problem?

Radiculopathy: Could Your Leg or Arm Pain Be Caused by a Spinal Problem?

If your leg hurts, you might logically assume there’s something wrong with your leg. But you might be wrong. Sometimes pain, tingling, numbness, or other symptoms in one part of your body can actually be caused by problems in another part of your body. 

For instance, radiculopathy—a condition in which nerves in the spinal column become compressed or irritated—can show up as symptoms in the arms, shoulders, back, hips, or legs.

Different types of radiculopathy

Where your symptoms show up will depend on what part of the spine is irritated.

  • Cervical radiculopathy. If the problem is with a nerve in the neck or upper back, it’s called cervical radiculopathy. It can cause pain in your arm, shoulder, neck, or upper back. You may also feel numb or lack strength on one side of your body.
  • Thoracic radiculopathy. While it’s relatively uncommon, this condition can develop when you have a compressed nerve in the middle of the back. It can cause burning pain in the abdomen, side, or ribs as well as a tingling, numb feeling.
  • Lumbar radiculopathy. When you have nerve irritation in the lower part of your back, it’s called lumbar radiculopathy. It can cause pain and numbness in a leg, hip, buttock, and lower back. This condition is also sometimes called sciatica.

Causes of radiculopathy

Radiculopathy can have a number of causes, including bone spursherniated discs, compression fractures, arthritis, and spinal stenosis

To pin down exactly what’s causing your pain, you’ll need a thorough physical exam as well as imaging, which may include X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI.  

Treatment for radiculopathy 

Your treatment plan will depend on several factors, including how severe your pain is and what your doctor determines the underlying cause to be. Many patients will find relief with interventions like medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery will be needed to help address the underlying cause of the condition.

For more information on radiculopathy or other neck and back conditions, or to make an appointment with the doctors at NeuroMicroSpine, please call (850) 934-7545 or click here to request an appointment. We hope to see you soon!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.