Symptoms and Signs

Radiculopathy refers to symptoms that develop when there is compression of a spinal nerve root. Most commonly, the nerve compression is related to a disc herniation or spondylosis (degenerative changes in the spine) and may occur with or without trauma. It is important to note that not all disc herniations cause nerve compression or pain.

  • Pain that radiates from the neck into the arm or from the low back into the leg. This can be worsened with certain movements.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm/hand or leg/foot.
  • Weakness of the arm/hand (e.g. dropping things, unable to lift things) or leg/foot (e.g. difficulty walking or having a drop foot).
  • Symptoms are usually on one side of the body.
  • Bladder and bowel changes or incontinence.

back view of man sitting on bed and suffering from back pain

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Overweight
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive motions or movements
  • Improper lifting or weight-bearing techniques
  • Expectant sport player
  • Family history of degenerative arthritis

When to Seek a Consultation

  • Severe pain
  • Weakness of the arm or leg
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Signs and symptoms of infection (e.g. fever)