Radiculopathy is not a specific condition, but rather a description of a problem in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (a neuropathy).
The emphasis is on the nerve root (Radix = "root"). This can result in pain (radicular pain), weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.
In a radiculopathy, the problem is at or near the root of the nerve, along the spine. However, the pain or other symptoms may manifest in an
extremity through a process called referred pain. For example, a nerve root impingement in the neck can produce pain and
weakness in the forearm. Likewise, an impingement in the lower back or lumbar-sacral spine can be manifested with symptoms
in the foot. Polyradiculopathy refers to the condition where more than one spinal nerve root is affected.
The nerves may be inflamed, pinched (compressed), or working ineffectively due to a lack of blood flow.
The nerve could be affected by a progressive disease that is destroying it in part or in whole.
The "straight leg raise test" can help to diagnose a lumbar or sacral nerve root radiculopathy.