Differential Diagnosis Of Radicular Pain

Radicular pain is a type of pain caused by an irritated or compressed nerve root in the spine. It is described as a sharp, stabbing pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks, legs, or feet. Radicular pain is often confused with other types of pain, such as sciatica, which is caused by a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve. To make an accurate diagnosis of radicular pain, a healthcare provider must take a detailed medical history, perform a physical examination, and order imaging studies.

Medical History

When diagnosing radicular pain, a healthcare provider will take a detailed medical history. This includes questions about the patient’s symptoms, such as when the pain started, where it is located, what makes it worse or better, and if there are any associated symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness. The healthcare provider will also inquire about the patient’s medical history, including any previous back injuries or surgeries. You can find an experienced physio for plantar fasciitis and this condition online.

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Physical Examination

A physical examination is an essential part of diagnosing radicular pain. During the test, the healthcare provider will check the spine for areas of tenderness, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion. They may also perform a straight leg raise test to determine if a pinched nerve in the spine causes the pain. In addition, they may check the reflexes and sensations in the legs and feet.

Imaging Studies

Imaging studies are used to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other conditions. Common imaging studies include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. X-rays can be used to detect bone spurs, fractures, or other abnormalities in the spine. CT scans provide detailed spine images and can detect disc herniation, which can cause radicular pain. MRIs can also be used to detect disc herniation and other abnormalities, as well as to detect nerve damage.


Once the diagnosis of radicular pain has been confirmed, treatment can begin. Treatment usually includes pain medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Pain medications can help to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles that support the spine and help to increase flexibility. If the pain persists despite these treatments, surgery may be recommended to remove pressure from the nerve root.

Radicular pain can be a debilitating condition, but with an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, most people can find relief. If you have persistent pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks, legs, or feet, you must consult a healthcare provider to determine the cause and begin treatment.

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