Lumbar Radiculitis

Symptoms by body part:

Lumbar Spine (Lower-Middle-Back)
Dermatomal changes (numbness, tingling or pain along a traceable line)
Reduction in Range of Motion
Lumbar Paraspinal (Lower-Side-Back)

Radiculitis is defined as inflammation of the spinal nerve roots that are transmitting sensory and motor information via electrical and chemical signaling that control all aspects of muscle, joint, organ and skin function.  Nerves exit the spinal cord via an intervertebral foramen, or small hole that is formed by the surrounding bones and joints.  This opening is typically twice as large as the nerve root diameter, but often reduces in size due to inflammation from the surrounding soft tissue or changes of the boney structures.  Radiculitis must be carefully diagnosed from peripheral neuropathies as they can often mimic each other.  Clinical examination, X-rays or MRIs, Nerve Conduction Velocity testing and EMGs may be necessary in determining the origin.  Lumbar Radiculitis is more common than Cervical or Thoracic due to the postural and weight strain that occurs on the discs, muscles and joints of that region.

Common Signs/Symptoms

  • Early signs are spasms, or tightness of the muscles in the lumbar spine, pelvis and hip.
  • Pain in the buttock, thigh or calf
  • Pain or burning down the thigh and leg
  • Weakness within the muscles of the shoulder, arm or hand
  • Electrical or shooting types of pain and hypersensitivity down the leg
  • Numbness or tingling felt in the buttock, thigh, leg and foot/toes
  • Changes in gait or difficulty raising leg or toes

Possible Causes

  • Disc Bulges or Herniations (A tear of the outer layer of the disc)
  • Lumbar Segmental Restriction
  • Soft Tissue injuries
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Osteophytic changes (Arthritis)
  • Tumors
  • Infection


Chiropractic Neurology is often an excellent treatment for these conditions if not caused by more serious issues that will be determined by thorough examination. Lumbar Disc Decompression, Physical Therapy, Specific Chiropractic Neurological adjustments and Postural rehab are extremely important aspects of your recovery.  Surgical intervention, steroid injections and other types of treatments are sometimes warranted, but avoided when possible.