Car accident victims who suffer spinal cord injuries often come across the terms radiculopathy and neuropathy.
These two terms are not synonymous, however, they are quite similar. For this reason, many auto accident victims tend to confuse the two.
What is Radiculopathy?
The word radiculopathy is derived from the word radix meaning “root.” Thus radiculopathy refers to any damage, improper functioning or disturbance in a nerve due to an injury or compression around the roots of the nerve near the vertebrae. This compression can cause radiating pain that can move to other parts of the body, numbness and tingling sensations leading to weakness along the nerve. Radiculopathy is most commonly found in the lower back area and is known as lumbar radiculopathy, and in the neck region, it is called cervical radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is considered as a type of neuropathy.
Causes of Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy occurs when the root of a nerve gets compressed due to conditions that reduce the space in the spinal canal like a herniated or a bulging disc, a bone spur, or thickening of the surrounding ligaments. Other causes include inflammation due to trauma caused in a car accident.
Symptoms of Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy can occur anywhere on the spine depending upon the location of the compressed root of the nerve. In cases where the nerve in the neck region gets compressed (cervical radiculopathy), victims can experience pain, loss of sensation along the nerves path usually in the arms, neck, hands, legs or buttock areas. Lumbar radiculopathy causes pain the legs, thighs, calves, feet, and the lower back depending on where the affected root lies. Sciatica is one the most conditions caused by compressed nerves.
Any trauma or injury to the spine in a car accident can develop into radiculopathy and will require immediate treatment. In cases where the damage is extensive, recovery generally takes a long time.
What is Neuropathy?
Unlike radiculopathy, neuropathy is a generic term for a number of disorders and malfunctions of the nervous system. Neuropathy includes any damage caused to any of the nerves – the periphery nerves, the 12 cranial nerves, autonomic systems, etc. leading to neuropathy symptoms in the affected areas of the body. Neuropathy can also be a result of non-trauma conditions like diabetes and old age complications.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Symptoms of neuropathy depend on which nerve is damaged and the area that gets affected as a result of the damaged nerve. The following are some of the common signs of neuropathy:
- Pain, numbness, tingling sensation or a burning sensation in the arms, legs, fingers etc. that often begins with numbness and tingling and progresses to severe pain in the affected areas as the condition worsens.
- Muscle weakness is another symptom of neuropathy. Weakening of the muscles can result in cramping, twitching and muscle wastage.
- Neuropathy can also cause other organs of the body to malfunction. For example, nerve damage can lead to weaker digestive system or inability to control bladder function.
Neuropathy, like radiculopathy also needs proper treatment and therapies for complete recovery. Recovery is usually lengthy and takes time.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Both radiculopathy and neuropathy if caused due to a car accident can lead to debilitating injuries and can even cause permanent damage. It is essential that victims suffering from radiculopathy or neuropathy due to a car accident contact an experienced St. Louis auto accident lawyer.
At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C., we have helped thousands of St. Louis accident victims receive full and fair compensation following a car accident. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 or fill out our online contact form to request a FREE consultation.