Weakness, pain, and numbness can find their root in the spine. It is known as radiculopathy. If left untreated, health problems will only continue to get worse, with the potential to become a chronic condition. When it comes to degenerative pain conditions they usually start small. There is occasional discomfort that gradually develops into pain, then weakness and numbness.
Usually, by the time an individual seeks help, the original condition has devolved into radiating pain. This is why it is important to address the issue right away. Chiropractic works with individuals to help them understand the degenerative nature of pain and how to address and prevent it. Early intervention will prevent minor discomfort from turning into debilitating, chronic pain.
Radiating pain root cause is a compressed or inflamed nerve. It happens at the site of compression and spreads outward growing larger with time. It can be a catalyst for different pain conditions and syndromes like sciatica or complex regional pain syndrome. There are a variety of terms for nerve pain, they are typically a form of radiculopathy.
The pain can spiral as fast as the underlying condition/s that is causing it. A compressed nerve that generates pain but does not become worse in severity is usually because the compression stays the same. Conversely, minimal discomfort brought on from shifted vertebrae can rapidly progress into weakness, numbness, and reduced mobility as a nerve is continually and severely getting compressed. Radiculopathy pain usually follows a pattern. Understanding the signs and symptoms will help determine to what extent the condition has progressed, and how it can develop into a worsening nerve injury:
- Discomfort is the first stage. Subluxation, rotation, or a spinal shift is what is occurring, with the nerve not yet affected.
- The pain signals that come from nerve compression along with the severity can help determine the cause of the condition.
- Weakness usually follows pain. The nerve that is affected begins to take on permanent damage and cannot function properly.
- Numbness follows the weakness reaching the most severe level. Mobility is limited along with a high increase for permanent nerve pain.
Being aware of these radiculopathy symptoms will help an individual stay ahead of nerve injury. Acting on discomfort can prevent progression into pain, addressing pain can stave off weakness, and acting upon weakness may prevent permanent nerve damage. The sooner an individual seeks help for any type of pain, the better chance they have to prevent degeneration.
It is crucial to consult with a chiropractor at the first sign of discomfort in the spine or if there is radiating/spreading back pain. A chiropractor will be able to provide decisive treatment that will bring relief and prevent the pain from worsening. The pain, weakness, and numbness can be avoided, along with long-term damage to the nerves.
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Stochkendahl, Mette Jensen et al. “National Clinical Guidelines for non-surgical treatment of patients with recent onset low back pain or lumbar radiculopathy.” European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 27,1 (2018): 60-75. doi:10.1007/s00586-017-5099-2