In most cases, lumbar radiculopathy goes away when the cause of the symptoms improves. If problems persist, symptoms can be managed.
Options include one or more of the following:
Corsets and back braces support posture and may reduce pain.
Spinal decompression, or traction, relieves pressure around pinched nerves in the spinal column. Spinal discs are slowly pulled apart allowing for blood and nutrients to heal the spine.
Medications used to treat lumbar radiculopathy include:
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
Prescription pain relievers
Corticosteroid injections into the spine
If the lumbar radiculopathy is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.
Continue normal activities unless it causes pain. Staying active helps maintain muscle strength and flexibility.
A physical therapist can advise specific exercises. Exercises also improve range of motion. Physical therapy may also include other techniques such as massage, manual therapy, heating, cooling or ultrasound treatments. A therapist can also provide back care education including proper posture and body mechanics.
Counseling will help manage chronic pain through single or group therapy.
If no other treatments work, surgery may be an option. The goal of surgery is to relieve nerve compression and reduce pain. Surgical procedures may include:
Laminectomy—an open procedure to remove a portion of the bony arch of the spine
Microdiscectomy—a portion of the herniated disc is removed with instruments or a laser
Lumbar radiculopathy. Advancing Neuromuscular, Musculoskeletal, and Electrodiagnostic Medicine website. Available at: http://www.aanem.org/Education/Patient-Resources/Disorders/Lumbar-Radiculopathy.aspx. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Lumbar radiculopathy. Spine Health website. Available at: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lumbar-radiculopathy. Updated April 25, 2012. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Physical therapist's guide to low back pain. Move Forward—American Physical Therapy Association website. Available at: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=d0456c65-7906-4453-b334-d9780612bdd3#.Vfl8WZcTDOt. Updated June 2, 2015. Accessed September 7, 2017.
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