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Symptoms of Radiculopathy

Symptoms of radiculopathy will vary, depending on the location of the pinched nerve.

Cervical: The nerves in the neck control the muscles and sensations of the neck and arms. Therefore, symptoms of cervical radiculopathy will include pain, numbness or weakness of varying degrees in the neck, shoulder and arms, usually on one side.

Lumbar: Lumbar radiculopathy causes pain that radiates down the lower extremities, from the hips and into the legs.

Thoracic: Less common than cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, thoracic radiculopathy involves pinched nerves can cause pain in the chest and torso. The symptoms are sometimes mistaken for shingles.

With all forms of radiculopathy, the nerves affected can cause hypersensitivity where even the slightest touch or even the bed sheets can cause excruciating pain. If nerve damage is present, the muscles will become very weak. (See Diagnosing and Treating Radiculopathy.)

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Reviewed by Dr. Roger Härtl
Last reviewed/last updated: December 2020