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Lumbar Radiculopathy

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Back Pain
  • Pins and needles, numbness and or weakness in various parts of your leg or foot (can be without back pain)

What is happening with the body?

Radicular, (or radiating or referred) pain is a type of back pain that spreads from the back and travels down the leg below the knee. Sometimes there is no back pain and only leg pain. This sort of leg pain is thought to originate from irritated nerves near the spine. This can lead to different regions of the leg becoming sore, depending on which nerve branch is irritated.

This can be a result of mechanical pressure from the disc or a chemical sensitisation on the nerve root due to inflammation around the area.

What can you try at home?

  • Reduce pain using ice, panadol, anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen). When there is a lot of muscle spasm, heat may be preferred to ice.
  • Keep moving – often pain willworsen the  longer  you sit or stand. Limit sitting and standing time to less than 20 minutes then get up and walk for a few minutes. A short walk once a day can also be helpful.
  • Relieving postures – there is no “one size fits all” comfortable position, however you can try lying on your side with a pillow between knees, lying on your tummy, or lying on your back with knees bent.
  • Exercises – your physio will assess you and prescribe the right exercises for your specific problem

How can physiotherapy help?

  • Thorough assessment to confirm the cause of pain and contributors to your pain experience
  • Education on what to do to help your pain
  • Release of the tight muscles/joints/reduce sensitivity using massage, joint mobilisations and/or dry needling
  • Exercise program to help decrease/manage pain
  • Exercise program to help strengthen surrounding muscles