Radiculopathy, or sciatica, is describing a radiating leg pain as far down as below knee level with development of neurological deficits (Iversen et al., 2015). Radiculopathy is the name of all the symptoms that might arise from a nerve root pathology in general. Whereas, radicular pain and nerve root pain are describing a symptoms from one or more nerve roots. Radiculopathy can occur in any part of the spine, though, the lumbar is the most common one.
All nerves or rather nerve roots exiting the lumbar spinal canal next to the spine are spreading all the way down into the legs and feet. Swelling or irritation can therefore cause pain and referred symptoms.
There are two common reasons to produce a lumbar radiculopathy: firstly, it is caused by damage to the lower spine which as a result causes compression on the nerve roots which exit the spine. This kind of compression can lead to tingling, numbness and occasional shooting pains. The second reason is an actual inflammation of the nerve. The highest prevalence is in individuals between 45 and 65 years (Frontera, Silver and Rizzo,
Conservative treatment includes physiotherapy (strengthening, postural control and self-management with exercising). If all this is not helping, injections are an easy invasive method to find relief.
Iversen T. et al., 2015, Outcome prediction in chronic unilateral lumbar radiculopathy: prospective cohort study, BioMed Central, 16(17), DOI: 10.1186/s12891-015-0474-9
Frontera W. R., Silver J.K. and Rizzo T.D, 2015, Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 3rd Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, p: 237