Radiculopathy is a medical term used to describe the neurological deficits that can occur from pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, such as arm or finger weakness, numbness, or pain. It can occur in any part of the spine, but usually it occurs in the lower back (lumbar radiculopathy) and in the neck (cervical radiculopathy). It is less common to occur in the middle portion of the spine (thoracic radiculopathy). Generally, it can be resolved within 6 weeks to 3 months.
Some risk factors include performing activities that place an excessive or repetitive load on the spine. Individuals involved in heavy labor or contact sports are more prone to develop the condition.
Symptoms depend on which nerves are affected. The most common symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs. It is also common for patients to experience localized neck or back pain.
Some patients experience a hypersensitivity to light or weakness in the muscles controlled by the affected nerves. This may indicate nerve damage.