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Radiculopathy, more commonly known as a “pinched nerve,” is a condition in which the nerve roots of the spinal column become damaged or disturbed. Because the nerve root at a given level of the spinal cord receives sensory input from a variety of locations in the body, a compression at just a single level can cause a patient to experience widespread pain or other symptoms. For example, a patient with a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine may feel pain shooting down the leg and may even experience numbness or tingling in the toes.


Radiculopathy can occur anywhere in the spine, but most commonly occurs in the cervical spine and lumbar spine. Radiculopathy that occurs in the lumbar spine is also known as sciatica. The symptoms of radiculopathy may include:

  1. Pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade
  2. Pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arm or fingers
  3. A sharp pain that travels from the lower back down the leg
  4. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg, foot, or toes



Radiculopathy is typically caused by disc degeneration or a herniated disc, which can result from injury. For more on causes of radiculopathy, see herniated disc.


Nerve compressions become more common as people age, and not everyone experiences symptoms. Radiculopathy can often be treated with modest measures such as pain medication, activity modification, and wearing a collar or brace. If your pain is chronic and severe, your physician may recommend surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate course of treatment for you, but common surgical procedures for treating radiculopathy include:

  1. Microdiscectomy
  2. Laminectomy
  3. Spinal Fusion
  4. Foraminotomy
  5. Artificial Disc
  6. Replacement surgery

“Dr. Yan Michael Li is an accomplished and skilled surgeon that is always wearing a smile. Dr. Li takes the time to explain the surgery, and has offered input along my entire process during and after my Laminectomy Surgery. Dr. Li comes highly recommended!” – Wesley M., 2020

“Dr. Li was my boyfriends surgeon. He was very helpful and personable and kept us in the loop the entire weekend we were in the hospital. I would highly recommend him.” – Serenna R., 2020

“It was good to be treated with PROFESSIONALISM and CARE. I say that DOCTOR LI and his staff, gave me this best care I needed. DOCTOR LI and his team took the time to explain every step of the procedure, and even took the time to call the following day to find out how I was feeling.” – Stephanie S., 2019

“This being my 6th back surgery, left me very hesitant to go in for another one. His confidence in being able to help me, led me to having it performed. I am on my way to feeling like my old self again, after not being able to walk up a flight of stairs before the surgery. I highly recommend Dr Li.” – Self-verified patient, 2018

“I remember one call I had to make to you after getting home after rehab… I felt so bad to bother you and full of apologies. Your reply was ‘You don’t apologize, you are my responsibility.’ So warm, kind & concerned. Listening and helping. I’ve NEVER in 66 years heard that rich of a reply from any doctor!” – Joy H., 2018

“Dr. Li, There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to you and your team. I am so thankful for the work you do and the part you played in prolonging my husband, Derek’s life. We don’t know how long he has, but you have given him the gift of time. Time spent with me, his wife, and also with our three young children. I will forever be eternally grateful to you.” – Leah M., 2017

“Dr. Li, This letter is to let you know how thankful I am to have you in my life. You are much appreciated and a honor to me and a miracle. I have alot of trust being in your hands and that will never change. I am so thankful to still be breathing and have the relationship I have with my family now. You are a very respectable grown man sir and I will never forget you…” – James H., 2014

“Dr. Li, Our family would like to say thank you to one of the nicest most caring Dr.’s we have come across. Thank you for taking my sister Sharon in and doing her surgery. You kindness will always be appreciated. May your life be filled with love and happiness always. Again Dr. Li thank you!” – The Family of Sharon S.