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Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica)


Lumbar radiculopathy is a disorder that is characterized by an irritation of the spinal nerve roots, which run from the lower back down each leg. Lumbar radiculopathy can be caused by many different factors, including a herniated or ruptured disc, bone spur, strenuous activity, an injury to the spine or osteoarthritis. Patients considered at the highest risk are older inpiduals and younger people who play contact sports or perform manual labor.

Lumbar radiculopathy is often referred to as sciatica since it commonly involves an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, stretching from the spinal cord to the end of each leg. The condition usually develops gradually, as the nerve is compressed over time.


Causes Of Lumbar Radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy occurs when the spinal nerves have become irritated or compressed. Nerve compression may be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Herniated or ruptured spinal discs
  • Bone spurs, which occur when extra bone forms around a weakened herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease, often resulting from the aging process
  • Congenital defects
  • Stress caused by repetitive or strenuous activities
  • Traumatic injury or event, such as a sports injury or car accident
  • Progressive conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Symptoms Of Lumbar Radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy usually causes pain that radiates down the leg to the calf or foot. Abrupt movements may cause this sciatic pain to worsen. Other common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Feelings of numbness throughout the legs
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Tingling or burning sensation in the legs
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Discomfort with sudden movements, such as standing up after a long period of sitting
  • Incontinence


Kellogg Brain and Spine
9200 SE 91st Avenue, Suite 340
Portland, OR 97086
Phone: 503-256-1462
Fax: 503-257-9523

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