Sciatica treatment

Sciatica is the term that is usually associated with what is numbness, tingling, burning, pain, and weakness that starts in the low back or buttock and travels down the back of one leg to the heel or the foot or even into the toes. This pain or tingling travels down the path of the sciatic nerve which runs from the low back, through each buttock, and the back of each leg.

The clinical diagnosis for sciatica is radiculopathy. What this means is that one of the vertebral discs of the spine has bulged or protruded out from where it normally resides in the spinal column and is pushing on one of the nerve roots in the lower spine or lower back. Low back pain is very common and sciatica can be a very common occurrence in those who suffer with low back pain.

Something that is important to realize for most people that have sciatica is that this is a symptom of another process, an underlying problem that needs to be diagnosed. So the first thing that needs to be done here is a thorough consultation with a specialist who treats these types of disorders with the appropriate testing to find out the underlying problems, before proper treatment can be delivered. Tests that may be ordered are CAT scan or MRI to find which vertebral disc is damaged or diseased and causing pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Another important note for most people to know however is that the majority of people will find that their sciatica will improve or subside with non invasive treatment. Some people find that they get better with rest and NSAID’s, while others will require treatment to get relief from this problem. For those who have severe sciatica to the point that it is debilitating, there are medical procedures that can relieve this problem as well.

Sciatica typically affects people that are between 35 and 50 years of age. It affects women and men alike. This problem can be due to injury or trauma but is usually due to normal wear and tear on the lower spine that occurs with age. Even though this can be a very painful and sometimes severely debilitating issue, sciatica usually does not cause paralysis or issues that cause permanent damage to the spine.

There are two symptoms to be on the alert for with sciatica that can constitute a medical emergency. If these things happen with sciatica symptoms, a person should seek medical attention immediately. They include sudden loss of bladder function or control or loss of bowel control or incontinence. If continuing progressive weakness in the leg occurs with sciatica, it should be evaluated as well especially if it is associated with the symptoms above.

So what are the treatments for sciatica? Some non-invasive treatments include exercises, physical therapy, stretching, NSAID’s steroids, and rest. There are also low back pain school programs that patient’s can enter in order to learn how to control and live with their back pain and sciatica. This type of program is designed for people who have chronic problems with sciatica or low back pain.

For those who do not respond well to non-invasive treatments or have severe or debilitating pain with sciatica, there are surgical interventions that can be tried for this problem. There are procedures such as microdiscectomy and lumbar laminectomy which can remove portions of the disc that are protruding and pressing on the nerves to relieve the pressure and hopefully take care of the problems a person is experiencing. However these are extreme measures and usually non-invasive measures are tried first.

Last updated on May 5th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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