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Chiropractic: An Easy Solution to Radiculopathy

By Dr. Molly Casey

Chiropractic and Radiculopathy

It is common in the medical and health world to have terms that sound confusing, scary, and ominous no matter which way you run it. Just because the term is imposing and unknown to you doesn’t mean it’s hopeless, helpless, or the end of the life as you know it. Radiculopathy is just such a word.

Patients will frequently come in saying they’ve been diagnosed with radiculopathy and are frightened and unsure whether they can receive chiropractic care. Let’s shine some light on radiculopathy and how chiropractic can possibly help.

Radiculopathy

Let’s first take out the confusion. The word radicular is the root word to radiculopathy. Radicular is defined as something affecting or relating to the root of a spinal nerve. That’s simple. If a doctor uses radicular to describe something, the actual issue occurs at the point where the nerve exits the spine, known as the nerve root.

Radiculopathy is a broad term used to describe a variety of symptoms that are a result from dysfunction occurring at the nerve root. The dysfunction is often some type of irritation or compression and is commonly called a pinched nerve (root). Types of symptoms can be pain, weakness, numbness, and/or difficulty controlling specific muscles. Notably, the term indicates the area of the problem yet it can describe multiple symptoms. This means two patients can have radiculopathy arising from the same spinal area but experience a different cause and a different set of symptoms.

Why is the differentiation of radicular symptoms versus other types of symptoms important? It’s helpful in the correction of the problem. You can have pain and numbness in your forearm and so can your sister or friend. The set of symptoms may arise because of lack of spinal motion and nerve root compression for you, but your sister’s pain may be because of an elbow joint issue. So the differentiation is imperative to proper treatment and full correction of the problem.

Chiropractic Care

Can chiropractic care help with radiculopathy? Yes.

Chiropractors deliver the chiropractic adjustment to the spine. The physical action of the adjustment is an induction of motion into the spinal joint. While there are many facets of the adjustments, the physical placement of where the adjustment occurs is at the point of the nerve root. The root of the nerves that are being referred to in the term radiculopathy exit the spine near the spinal joint. Doesn’t it appear obvious that chiropractic adjustments could positively affect the radiculopathy?

Oftentimes radiculopathy is caused by some type of decreased function or motion at that spinal joint. When this is corrected, radicular symptoms often decrease. This can even be the case when the cause of the issue is related to the spinal disc. This is a small, compact area with many structures that can be involved with the nerve root issue. Many times the simple, yet precise, application of more motion through the chiropractic adjustment creates enough room for things to breathe (using layman’s terms) and allows the body the space to do what it knows to do, heal itself.

Radiculopathy can be intensely painful and life interrupting. This can add to your fear and confusion. Don’t let that stop you from seeking the best and most conservative options of care. That’s why chiropractic is so important.

Summary

Decreasing fear and increasing activity toward healing and health requires clarity first and action second.

Radiculopathy simply refers to the area of the nerve that is affected by the problem and it describes a category of symptoms. That’s it. The severity of the problem and the treatment course is going to be dependent upon many factors. However, don’t limit your options before you understand the situation and the available avenues to care. Be aware that some may be outside your current thought process. Research, learn, seek advice from other professionals. That includes doctors at The Joint Chiropractic who can help explain what they can do to address the problem.

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