Sunday, September 2, 2012

SCIATICA, its Causes and Cure


According to a youtube video, sciatica is explained as common condition but then it says sciatica is not much of a condition but a type of pain. It is typically a shooting sensation or burning pain that runs down the outside of one the legs.

Another website describes sciatic pain is caused as a result of compression or irritation of any of the spinal nerve roots. These roots give rise to nerves called sciatica nerves. Sciatica does not only cause pain but also inflammation. Due to the inflammation, compression or irritation, the left or right sciatic nerves experience pain, which may be severe at times.

Sciatica may be due to a number of reasons like Piriformis Syndrome, herniated or bulging disc, spinal stenosis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Whatever the reason, sciatic pain is usually severe and renders the patient helpless.

If you want to go into the technicalities on the causes of sciatica, then watch this video.


The treatments for sciatica may be different depending upon the causes. One of the primary causes of sciatic pain is poor posture and therefore it's imperative for the patient to try and maintain good posture at all times. Also, the patient should avoid carrying heavy objects or loads such as bulky purses or several books while walking.
Many treatments are available for sciatica pain like rest, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers etc. Basically, all non-surgical treatments focus upon the inflammatory issue. Majority of the people are cured by these conventional therapies. Surgical treatment is not usually needed but patients who do not get any relief from all the above stated conventional medication therapies, can opt for it.
However, going for surgical treatment for sciatica should be the last option. Surgery should only be undertaken after all the therapies and medications have failed to provide relief.
The correct and timely diagnosis of sciatica is mandatory because the sciatic pain sometimes becomes intolerable due to high degree of inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

There are a few treatment methods a patient can apply before opting for surgery among which are:

1.     Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight can help alleviate its symptoms. If you're overweight, you're probably adding further stress to your lower spinal joints. This in turn can cause compression of the bones, nerves and tissues.
2.     Massage therapy is one of the most relaxing yet effective ways to get rid of sciatic pain. Ideally though, it is best to hire a trained massage therapist or masseur, if you can afford it. But you may also instruct a friend or family member to give you a massage once you're familiar with the technique yourself. With the right massaging techniques, the increased blood flow to the affected areas would help loosen your tensed muscles considerably. Watch the videos below.

3.     Zero impact exercise is also recommended for treatment of sciatic pain. Stretching, aerobics, swimming or yoga; can all help you overcome your condition. Doing these exercises on a regular basis will also bring instant relief from the pain and also protect you from other ailments such as osteoporosis.
4.     Sleeping or resting on a firm surface is also likely to help you deal with sciatic pain. Your mattress should be firm as well as comfortable. Do stay away from designer mattresses that look good but score low on the comfort scale. Also, do make it a point to move around throughout the day. A sedentary lifestyle is likely to aggravate your sciatic nerve problems further.

5.     Epidural steroid injection, which is similar to regular cortisone injection may be used. The steroid, which is produced by the adrenal gland is known as Cortisone. This steroid is released into the blood stream when the body is under stress and is relatively short acting. Medically, cortisone is synthesized under many different trade names like Celestone, Kenalog etc. It is same as the cortisone produced in our own body in case the body is under stress. The steroid injection proves to be a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. It works potently around the spinal nerves but it is not an easy affair. The doctor would ask you to lie down with your face downwards on an x-ray table. The x-ray visualizes and guides the exact location of the tip of the needle, which is very near to the spinal nerves, known as the epidural space. Commonly, there is a series of this injection, which is spaced a week apart. This helps to control inflammatory irritation and provides long lasting relief. The epidural steroid injection lasts for around 15 minutes. Any of the following professionals could administer the epidural steroid injection:


* anesthesiologists

* orthopedic surgeons

* neurologists

* radiologists

* Any other trained professional

For more info, watch this video.

Surgical treatment for sciatica is only considered when all the conventional medication and treatments fail to provide relief. There are also considerations and a few confinements to be followed before and after the surgery is done.

When to go for a surgery? Surgery is only considered when the patient has undergone more than 3 months of conventional therapies and is not satisfied with the results. Surgery may allow the nerve in the area to be compressed. The ruptured disc can be removed, bone may be opened around the nerve, or both can be considered.



What is the surgical procedure all about?
The spinal surgery is known as Discectomy. It is done to remove a herniated disc and a fragment of normal spinal disc, which is causing pressure on the nerve because it is dislodged. The disc is removed and the nerve is relieved from the pressure. Discectomy is performed under anesthesia. The process may take minimum 1 hour and the time may extend as per the surgery requirements. This surgery is done with the patient lying face down. The surgeon makes an incision over the center of the back, which is 3 centimeters in length. The muscle is dissected away from bone of the spine. Small amount of bone and ligament are removed from the back of the spine using special instruments. This part of procedure is known as Laminotomy.
Once the ligament and bone has been removed, the surgeon can see and protect the spinal nerves. Having found the disc herniation, the fragment is removed. The appearance and condition of the remaining disc is the criteria to decide whether other fragments need to be removed or not. This is done while keeping the future perspective in mind. After cleaning the disc, the incision is closed and bandage is applied. 


Recovery and after effects.
The patient may take up to a few weeks for the symptoms to be dissipated. Patient may feel pain around incision, which is common. It can be cured with oral medications. There are a few instructions for the patient like sitting upright, walking straight, avoid lifting heavy objects, and not bend the back.

If you have decided to try the exercise, this 1 Minute Daily Sciatica Exercice video can give you a good start. Check also this site: and this video and all related videos on Youtube.

8 comments:

  1. Sciatica pain is something I'm all too familiar with. I lived with it for years before seeking help from pain management doctors in NJ, who were able to help me greatly. You have provided a great overview of sciatica, and I know I've employed many of your pain relief suggestions to ease my pain. The exercising, especially, is always helpful.

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