Peripheral Neuropathy & Radiculopathy
Chronic Pain Treatment from Peripheral Neuropathy & Radiculopathy
One of the primary sources of acute or chronic pain involves damage to the nervous system. At Southern Regional Pain Services in Little Rock, Arkansas, we often diagnose and treat cases of peripheral neuropathy and radiculopathy.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to weakness, numbness, or pain – usually in the hands and feet – due to nerve damage.
Your peripheral nerves are part of a complex network that connects your muscles, skin, and internal organs to your spinal cord and brain. When specific nerves are damaged due to overuse or traumatic injury, you experience the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. A perfect example is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), resulting from repetitive use of your hand and wrist when constantly using a computer keyboard.
However, peripheral neuropathy can also be traced to other causes including diabetes, infection, exposure to toxins, metabolic problems, or hereditary factors.
Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms:
- Gradual numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, which may spread to your arms and legs
- Sharp, throbbing, or burning pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Unusual pain during activities
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Paralysis (if motor nerves are affected)
There are various types of peripheral neuropathy. If only one nerve is affected, it is referred to mononeuropathy. If two or more nerves in different areas are involved, it is referred to as multiple mononeuropathy, whereas polyneuropathy – the most common form of peripheral neuropathy – indicates that many nerves are affected.
What Is Radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy is the clinical name for what is more commonly known as a pinched nerve. Your spine is composed of many bones called vertebrae. There is a canal in the center of these bones through which your spinal cord runs. From there, nerve roots travel between the vertebrae to various parts of your body. When the nerves become pinched or damaged, it is known as radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy in the lower back is known as lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica because the nerve roots involve the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, running from your lower back all the way down your legs.
A compressed nerve root in the neck is known as cervical radiculopathy. Since the nerve roots in this area control sensations in your arms and hands, it is where symptoms are most likely to appear.
A compressed nerve root in the upper back is known as thoracic radiculopathy. This causes pain and numbness that can extend to the front of your body.
Symptoms of inflamed nerve roots as a result of radiculopathy include:
- Sharp pain in the back, shoulders, or upper or lower extremities which may worsen with certain activities, such as coughing or sneezing
- Weakness or the loss of reflexes in your arms or legs
- A “pins and needles” sensation, skin numbness, or other abnormal sensations in your arms or legs
The causes of radiculopathy can be traced to a spinal injury or gradual degeneration of the spine.
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Bone spurs
- Ossification (thickening) of the spinal ligaments
At Southern Regional Pain Services in Little Rock, Arkansas, our board-certified team of anesthesiologists and pain management specialists frequently treat patients dealing with peripheral neuropathy and radiculopathy.
Our care starts with a comprehensive physical examination and tests to check your muscle strength and reflexes. If certain movements cause your pain, this helps us identify the affected nerve root. Imaging tests are also used to examine the structures in the problem area. In addition, nerve conduction studies and electromyography may also be ordered to help ascertain whether the problem is muscular or neurological.
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy or radiculopathy will depend on the precise location and cause of the condition. However, we typically recommend nonsurgical treatments first in the form of medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), managed opioid medicines, or muscle relaxants. Other options include physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and prevent further damage or steroid injections to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If these measures prove unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended.
Peripheral Neuropathy and Radiculopathy Treatments in Little Rock, AR
To learn more about our treatments for peripheral neuropathy and radiculopathy, contact Southern Regional Pain Services today by calling at (501) 661-8290 to schedule a consultation. Or use our secure online request an appointment form to arrange your visit.