Discogenic radiculopathy: symptoms, treatment and complications

Discogenic radiculopathy can cause paralysis of the lower extremities

Frequent back pain typical backache, and partial or complete immobility can be caused by a number of problems associated with modifications of the vertebral column, vertebrae and intervertebral discs.

Often such a manifestation of pain syndrome are pinching the nerve roots and occurring degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs.

Localization and symptoms, a technician can diagnose the radiculopathy is called sciatica. What is the danger of the disease and possible prevention?

What is the syndrome?

Radiculopathy called the pathology of the nerve roots of the spine, originating from the spinal nerves. Nerve roots can be affected, leading to inflammation and damage.

Causes of infringement lie in the degenerative processes of the intervertebral discs that with age lose their original properties.

The result is a decrease in depreciation and elastic properties, the wear of the outer ring and reducing the height between the vertebrae.

All of these processes provoke the infringement and bring the patient pain and suffering.

The etiology of the disease

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Today, the scientists identified only two main reasons for the symptoms described pain symptoms. So, the appearance of radiculopathy may cause injuries of the spine and the presence of degenerative disc disease.

Osteochondrosis is a disease characterized by age-related degeneration of the intervertebral disc. But because of modern life rhythm became more frequent cases of the disease in young people.

This is due to the long static situation in which the pressure and compression of the intervertebral discs.

In advanced cases occur of loss of the original functions of the segments of the spine, ligament damage, development of osteophytes and bulging disc.

Classification of the disease

Presents disease has its own classification and is divided into varieties.

To common species of discogenic radiculopathy, which is characterized by a number of features and have distinctive symptoms:

  1. First, there is a thinning of the intervertebral discs, which leads to the protrusion of the segment and its fibrous ring. In the process of degenerative changes in the gel-like nucleus of the disc bulges outward – the hernia is formed.
  2. Secondly, the intervertebral discs are annoying, and then infringe on the spinal nerve endings. Drives affect one or more roots, which can be located in different parts of the spine.
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Vertebrogenic radiculopathy is a secondary form of manifestation of discogenic varieties. If in the first case changes, and the rise of a «wall» around the nerve roots, but now these growths begin to exert pressure.

Often the cause of further compression due to age-related changes. In the process, there is a circulatory disturbance of the processes, subsequently to which there is swelling.

Causes symptoms

The reasons are:

  • immobility for a long time, such as drivers or office workers in their activities provoke the weakening of the muscular frame;
  • hormonal and other irregularities;
  • changes related to age-related exhaustion;
  • chronic inflammation;
  • a wrong posture, resulting in a represented disease can manifest itself among students;
  • injury or surgery that triggered the start of the degenerative process;
  • congenital anomalies of the spine;
  • frequent and prolonged exercise.

Of these reasons, it is possible to identify the peculiarity that the origin of the syndrome is dangerous as excessive exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.

Symptoms depending on localization

Discogenic radiculopathy, as has been stated, may occur in any region of the spine.

It is divided into three main sections, where, depending on localization of a pinched nerve occur their specific symptoms.

Cervical spine

The first signs of the disease include pain in the neck and forced head position, because attempts to change it cause a person severe pain.

Pain is worse while coughing or sneezing. Also noticed the manifestation of severe pain in the morning that often gets attributed to an uncomfortable position during sleep.

If not treated at the initial stage, after the formation of the hernia, the person will complain of severe pain in the arm and chest that is often taken for myocardial infarction.

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Thoracic spine

Because the nerve roots are connected by cloth to the internal organs of the abdomen, when compressed will feel pain, resembling spasms of the stomach, diseases of the pancreas, spleen or liver.

To determine the cause of such discomfort, a kind of swipe testing. Change the position, or sitting straight on a chair without feeling pain, turn the torso.

If the reason lies in discogenic radiculopathy, when turning you will feel the pain.

The lumbosacral spine

The lumbar spine assumes the entire load, so discogenic radiculopathy often localized at the level L5–S1 of the lumbosacral spine.

Severe pain may be replaced by a cross entailing immobility of the legs or the entire body.

Also marked pain in the region of the sciatic nerve, which is distributed in the buttocks, inner and rear thighs.

In advanced cases with late intervention may cause hernias, which also brings a contribution by numbness of feet with difficulty movements.

Diagnostic methods

When the first symptoms should consult a doctor who will prescribe an appropriate examination to determine the cause of the pain.

Here can be assigned x-ray examination, lumbar puncture or MRI. All depends on the degree of symptoms and localization of pain.

What treatments are used?

Once revealed discogenic radiculopathy specialists use treatments to eliminate pain and inflammation to reduce muscle spasm and normalize blood circulation.

Here use conservative methods of treatment in the form of taking pain and anti-inflammatory drugs.

In severe course of treatment the patient hospitalityat and provide immobility and reducing the load on the spinal column. In this case, the input of medicines is carried out by intramuscular injection (sometimes used blockers pain).

As recover its mobility is used in the following ways:

  • massage allows you to relieve spasms and normalizes blood circulation, is recommended regularly as a prevention;
  • to restore nerve impulses prescribed acupuncture sessions;
  • physiotherapy under expert guidance, where the exercises take place to redistribute the load vector, can reduce the infringement of the nerve root.
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If the disease is not treatable and has a intervertebral hernia, resort to surgery, where the removal of the bulging disc.

The dangers inherent in the process

The disease should be treated immediately, because further degenerative processes can lead to disability in case of total loss of the lower part of the lumbar spine.

Among the most dangerous complications that discogenic radiculopathy contributes to the paralysis of the lower limbs.

Furthermore, delayed intervention leads to the formation of chronic sciatica, where any bad move will trigger a new attack.

Also, during the chronic form of the disease threat will be hypothermia, weight lifting infection and even stress.


As prevention experts advise to protect themselves from hypothermia, shock and other impacts on the spine.

If your business is associated with a longer stay in one position, offset by a regular class at the gym and periodically perform simple exercises during the breaks of the working day.

The syndrome often manifests itself in young people, so parents should take care of the health of your child and monitor his posture.

Adults and children should do morning exercises and lead an active and healthy lifestyle, eliminating bad habits, and the use of «useless» products.