Radiculopathy refers to pain that is felt along a particular nerve distribution as a result of nerve root compression. It is known as either neck or back radiculopathy depending upon the location of nerve root compression.
What causes radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy may be caused by a number of conditions affecting the spine. Some conditions include: bulging or herniated disc, spinal stenosis or spondylosis (degenerative disc disease).
What are some symptoms of radiculopathy?
The spine is divided into four separate areas: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. The symptoms of radiculopathy differ according to the region of the spine affected. Nerve compression affecting the cervical region may cause pain and affect sensation and strength in the upper extremities including the arms, wrists and hands. Nerve compression affecting the lumbar region may cause pain and affect sensation and strength in the lower extremities.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)/Reflex Sympathetic Dystophy (RSD)
Complex regional pain syndrome is a complicated form of neuropathic pain (pain caused by nerve irritation). It is characterized by increased sensitivity to normal stimuli, discoloration and temperature changes in the extremities and emotional responses.
What causes CRPS?
The cause of CRPS is thought to occur secondary to over sensitized sensory nerves and receptors along the nervous system. This can lead to changes in other structures including the sympathetic nervous system, spinal cord as well as other systems in the brain.
What are some clinical signs and symptoms of CRPS?
The clinical course of CRPS is usually divided into three phases, the acute, dystrophic and atrophic phases. In the acute phase, patients usually complain of increased sensitivity to painful stimuli, temperature changes and increased sweating. Later in the dystrophic phase, vasomotor alterations predominate with increased swelling, loss of hair, nail bed changes and skin changes. In the atrophic phase, there is muscle wasting and increased discoloration and temperature changes in the extremities.