Lumbosacral Neuritis: symptoms, causes and treatmentsThe lower back contains the lumbar vertebrae along with the sacrum. Within the spinal canal that lies within these vertebrae, there are a number of different spinal nerves that arise. In some cases, these nerves can get a bit inflamed and can cause a variety of different symptoms. Inflammation of the spinal nerves is called lumbosacral neuritis and in this article we shall take a brief look at this topic.
Causes of Lumbosacral NeuritisLumbosacral neuritis can occur due to a variety of different causes. Essentially, there is irritation of the nerve fibers that lie within the spinal canal. This irritation can occur from infection, inflammation, compression by a small bone spur, compression from a small spinal tumor and even endocrine causes such as diabetes. A herniated lumbar disc is also a well recognised cause.
Symptoms of Lumbosacral NeuritisTypically, patients who suffer from Lumbosacral Neuritis will have low back pain and shooting pains down the leg. There may be associated weakness of the muscles along with some alteration in the sensation of the skin on the leg. The pain can be rather debilitating and in many cases can affect the quality of life of patients.
On examination, patients may find that certain movements exacerbate their pain. In addition, the actual cause can itself cause symptoms.
Diagnosis of Lumbosacral NeuritisMany a times, a clear-cut diagnosis can be made from history and clinical examination alone. However, in some cases this may not be sufficient and patients may require additional investigations of the spine. A simple x-ray of the spine will demonstrate any irregularities within the alignment of the spinal column. In addition, any narrowing of the disc spaces, bone spur formation, osteoporosis, fractures and tumors may become visible through an x-ray alone.
In some cases, additional, more specialized investigations may be needed. These investigations can include a CT scan or an MRI scan of the spine. Nerve conduction studies may be performed as well to determine the involvement of specific nerve fibers. These different investigations can help guide different treatment modalities.
TreatmentThe choice of treatment depends upon the cause of Lumbosacral Neuritis. For example patients with diabetic neuropathy may benefit from simple physical therapy along with multivitamin supplementation and good diabetic control. Patients who have a tumor may benefit from some form of surgery along with radiotherapy. Patients who have a protruded lumbar intervertebral disc may find relief through physical therapy along with conservative treatment options and a possible surgical correction of the defect.
The pain can be effectively managed with the help of over-the-counter painkillers in initial stages. Of course in some cases this may not be sufficient and patients may require non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or even more powerful opiate medications. Many a time, steroid injections directly into the spinal canal can relieve inflammation and pain almost immediately. This is particularly effective if it is combined with a local anaesthetic injection. Nevertheless, it is important for patients who have low back pain and lumbosacral neuritis to seek medical attention and receive further treatment as soon as possible.
In conclusion, Lumbosacral Neuritis can be a rather painful condition that arises due to a number of different causes. Once the cause has been identified through various investigations, specialized treatments may be given to the patient to help relieve the symptoms.