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The management of weakness caused by lumbar and lumbosacral nerve root compression

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Spinal stenosis and disc herniation are the two most frequent causes of lumbosacral nerve root compression. This can result in muscle weakness and present with or without pain. The difficulty when managing patients with these conditions is knowing when surgery is better than non-operative treatment: the evidence is controversial. Younger patients with a lesser degree of weakness for a shorter period of time have been shown to respond better to surgical treatment than older patients with greater weakness for longer. However, they also constitute a group that fares better without surgery. The main indication for surgical treatment in the management of patients with lumbosacral nerve root compression should be pain rather than weakness.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr H. Sharma; e-mail:

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