Lumbar and Cervical Radiculopathy

upper and lower back painRadiculopathy is a term used to describe the irritation, injury, or compression of a nerve root. When the affected nerve is located in the lower back, this is called lumbar radiculopathy. Patients suffering from lumbar radiculopathy often report pain, numbness, discomfort, or stiffness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. When the affected nerve is located in the neck or upper back, this is called cervical radiculopathy. Patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy often report similar symptoms as lumbar radiculopathy but in the upper back between the shoulder blades and in the shoulders, neck, arms, and hands

The most common causes of lumbar and cervical radiculopathy are injury, a ruptured disc, degenerative changes (arthritis), and spinal narrowing. Initial treatment will usually be conservative, with a recommendation for physical therapy and pain management (usually corticosteroids, ibuprofen, or naproxen). If pain continues after some time, doctors may prescribe steroid injections to block nerve pain, or even surgery.


Back to Spinal Conditions

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Now Offering Novel Robotic Platform to Diagnose Lung Conditions

WASHINGTON – MedStar Washington Hospital Center became first in the Mid-Atlantic region to offer a new innovation designed to allow physicians to diagnose small peripheral lung nodules with greater precision and accuracy. These small masses or spots can be very difficult or nearly impossible to reach with traditional bronchoscopes. Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform includes a flexible robotic endoscope that doctors use to navigate deep into the lungs and obtain tissue samples for biopsy to determine if lung disease or cancer is present. To date, seven patients have undergone the procedure at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, in part because it has no symptoms in its early stages,” said John F. Lazar, MD, director of Thoracic Robotic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The Monarch Platform provides excellent reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures, transforming how we diagnose suspicious nodules in the lung. We are excited about the promise of this technology and are hopeful that it will have a positive impact on our future patients battling lung disease.”

Currently, there are a variety of diagnostic options available for lung conditions, but all have limitations in accuracy, safety, or invasiveness. These limitations can lead to false results or side effects, such as collapsed lung and bleeding, which may extend hospital stays. The development of new advanced technologies, like the Monarch Platform, could allow the opportunity to make an earlier diagnosis, potentially saving many lives.

A multi-disciplinary team consisting of Dr. Lazar and Dr. Jessica Wang Memoli from Pulmonary, Critical Care and Respiratory Services lead the lung health program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. This partnership between medicine and surgery allows patients to receive the most comprehensive evaluation and treatment.


MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.