Went to the doctor today because of the pain I've had in my lower back for a while now. I'm scheduled for an MRI of my lower back next Wednesday. I have all the symptoms of radiculitis that was listed online. "Pain in the lower back, often extending down through the buttock of one side and into the leg on that side; sharp pain in the hip region; and pain all along the back side of the leg that can be described as stabbing or burning." I've had that problem with my leg hurting for at least 2 years now but it has got a lot worse lately. I take a shower and within 5 minutes my leg is hurting so bad I can't think straight. I have numbness in both feet and tingling sensations in both legs and feet sometimes, but my doctor told me that was neuropathy. Has anyone else had those symptoms and if so, what did they figure out was the cause. Hopefully the MRI will tell me something.
The radiculitis refers to nerve root irritation from a bulging or herniated disc in the back, or from bone spurs pressing on the nerve root. The pain radiates down the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that extends down the buttock and goes all the way down to the ankle/foot. The MRI will show what is pressing on the nerve. The neuropathy should be worked up to find the cause. Most common causes are diabetes, alcohol excess, VIT b12 or folic acid deficiency, low thyroid levels, and connective tissue diseases. These can all be ruled out with blood tests, so specific treatment can be helpful. Sometimes neuropathy can be hereditary or idiopathic (no identifiable reason). The numbness and tingling can also be caused by the disc problem if the disc or spurs are pressing on both sides. Neuropathy is diagnosed by a nerve conduction study, if taking care of the disc doesn't clear up the numbness and tingling.
I'm glad you are having a MRI at the beginning of your investigation. If it discovers a herniated disc or some sort of stenosis, or another issue that is causing nerve compression, you will know that the diagnosis of neuropathy may be wrong.
The first sign of a spine problem I had was the development of numb toes. I was told it was peripheral neuropathy and I never investigated further. I told my PCP that I had been diagnosed with neuropathy. It went into my chart and was taken as the truth from that day forward.
After I had a one level fusion and had recovered, but still had pain, I went to a pain management doctor. In the process of trying to track down the source of my pain, he inquired about how I knew I had neuropathy. When I told him it was a diagnosis from another doctor, made based on symptoms, he immediately ordered an EMG/nerve conduction study and found that I did not have neuropathy. Turns out the numbness had been caused by a problem at L4-L5 and it began YEARS before I had any pain in my back.
At least you will know soon if you have something going on in your spine.
Radiculitis is a very common symptom for those of us with lumbar spine issues.