The nerve root is the portion of the nerve that runs through the bony canal and exits at each vertebral segment of the spinal cord. The spinal cord can be divided into segments according to the nerve roots that branch off of it. Nerve roots along the cord consist of 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal nerves.

Back pain arises from radiculopathy when the nerve roots in the regions of the spine are irritated as a result of direct pressure from a disc or inflammation of the nerve roots due to disc or spinal joint disease. Nerve root pain can be effectively treated with both noninvasive and invasive pain management techniques, such as exercise, chiropractic manipulation, epidural injections, nerve root blocks, or surgery.