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Condition. Lumbar Radiculopathy: Lower Back Pain

By Editorial Team (A)
December 28, 2021

What Is Lumbar Radiculopathy?

Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition that occurs when one of the nerves in the lumbar region of the spine, in the lower back, has been pinched.

Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica is the most common typecommonly known as sciatica) is characterized by pain, tingling sensations, or numbness radiating from the lower back and into the leg or down to the foot. The sciatic nerve, which is the largest in the body, leaves the spinal cord as a few nerve fibers that frame it. It is common for the nerve and pain to travel from the lower back to the thigh, beneath the knee, and to the lower leg or foot.

Sciatica is not in itself a sickness. Regardless of the cause, the outcome is either disc degeneration or herniation that pushes on the nerve or the substance of the disc and causes irritation of the nerve. Any discomfort or irritation of a nerve coming about because of disc herniation is known as radiculopathy. In addition to disc herniation, the nerve may be irritated by adjacent structures, including bone, muscle, tumors, injury, bleeding, or infection. However, the most well-known reason for sciatica is disc herniation.

Spine discs consist of an internal gelatin-like center and a firm external ring. As the disc wears, it debilitates, and the internal center starts projecting outward through the outer portion. The nerve roots become heavier upon leaving the spinal column due to aggravation caused by damaged tissues. Sciatica may happen because of degenerative disc infection, joint inflammation of the lumbar region, and injury or damage to the lower back. It is often evaluated by history and side effects. The last include pain, tingling, or numbness that spreads from the lower back and buttocks, resulting in lower back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, or hip pain.

Lumbar Radiculopathy Causes

Lumbar radiculopathy occurs as a result of nerve inflammation. The most common cause of lumbar radiculopathy is disc herniation. Vertebral discs are the soft cushions between the bones of your spine which act as shock absorbers. During aging, these structures become dry, and their edges may fracture or tear. If the center of the disc spills out, it can cause lumbar radiculopathy.

Another cause of lumbar radiculopathy may be spinal stenosis. It can occur due to various conditions, including the formation of extra bone tissue. As a result, the nerves or spinal cord are pinched, leading to lumbar radiculopathy.

Radiculopathy occurs when surrounding tissue compresses the nerve. For example, bone spurs can be a possible cause of this condition. These are bony projections that form along the edges of the bones. Bone spurs can result from injury or osteoarthritis. The spurs can solidify the spine and reduce the space available for nerves, thereby compressing them. In addition, radiculopathy may come about because of maturation or injury.

Radiculopathy is caused by pressure or irritation of the nerves as they leave the spine. It can be due to a disc herniation, a bone spur (osteophytes) from osteoarthritis, or thickening of surrounding tendons. In addition, the following condition can cause lumbar radiculopathy:

  • Pressure on the nerves is caused by various conditions, such as a tumor or many diseases. Both can diminish the amount of space in the spinal channel and compress the leaving nerve.
  • Scoliosis can cause the nerves on one side of the spine to end up noticeably compacted by the strange bend of the spine.
  • Degenerative conditions or injury worsening can lead to radiculopathy due to nerve irritation.


Lumbar radiculopathy affects both men and women. However, in the United States, it affects men earlier in life than women. Women don’t tend to develop lumbar radiculopathy until they are in their 50’s or 60’s, while men are most commonly affected in their 40’s. Typically, symptoms of the disorder last from 45 to 60 days.

Lumbar Radiculopathy Risk Factors

Numerous spinal changes occur as you age. Radiculopathy generally influences individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid joint inflammation, and being overweight can increase the risk of lumbar radiculopathy development. Other risk factors are poor posture, abnormal spine curvature like scoliosis. Women that are pregnant have a higher risk of lumbar radiculopathy development. Likewise, it can be innate, so you are at expanded risk of lumbar radiculopathy if you have a family history of this condition.

Click Here to read about Symptoms.

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