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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 666-669

Varicella-zoster radiculitis mimicking sciatica: A diagnostic dilemma

Spinal Services, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abhinandan Reddy Mallepally
Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Sector C, Vasant Kunj, Delhi - 110 070
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_75_20

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Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) presenting as a radicular pain in the thoracic region is not uncommon, but the presentation in the lumbar and thigh region is not frequently seen. Characteristic segmental vesicular–bullous rash in a dermatomal distribution associated with pain and allodynia is a prominent feature. The pain appears before rash. It is not uncommon for clinicians to misdiagnose radicular pain caused by VZV due to prolapsed disc. We report two patients who presented to us with complaints of back pain with leg radiculopathy that were initially treated for discogenic radiculopathy and rash was wrongly attributed to hot fomentation. This case report emphasizes the importance of including varicella-zoster radiculitis in the differential diagnosis of radicular pain and clinical examination of every rash. Physical examination is must if the patient complains of rash. Appropriate and timely diagnosis can prevent unnecessary investigations.

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