Sciatic Nerve Treatment
Sciatica or sciatic nerve pain can be an extremely debilitating symptom, with sufferers experiencing both acute and chronic pain in the buttock and back of the thigh. This can be a sharp pain or a dull ache and is often relieved when bending forward, lying down, or when riding a bike, but is exacerbated by walking, bending backwards, and twisting the spine. The exact cause of the sciatica can often be pinpointed through a thorough physical examination and accurate description of symptoms to the diagnosing physician. If the pain originates in the thigh, just above the knee then it is likely due to the piriformis muscle that provides lateral thigh movement, rather than the spine itself. If the pain is below the knee and into the foot, and there are poor reflexes or a decreased ability to raise the foot then the sciatic nerve may be being pinched at the L3-L4 level.
Pain in the side of the foot and the ankle, with poor ankle reflexes and difficulty in lifting the heal indicates a potential nerve impingement at L5-S1 in the lower lumbar spine. Foot-drop, often associated with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, can also be suggestive of pinched nerve at L4-L5, especially where the big toe is particularly painful and there is pain or numbness along the up of the foot. It is important for patients to accurately express their symptoms in order to facilitate a speedy diagnosis and access appropriate treatment. Sciatica can describe a number of painful and uncomfortable experiences due to a pinched nerve and in some cases sciatic nerve treatment may be through back surgery at that level of the spine.
Conservative sciatic nerve treatment is usually offered for six months prior to any surgery and this can often relieve the sciatica symptoms to a manageable degree. Physical therapy, medications such as NSAIDs, and supportive devices to restrict backwards bending are frequently utilized with varying degrees of success. If, however, the symptoms become intense and incapacitating, significant weakness occurs in the legs, or if bowel or bladder incontinence develops, surgery is usually scheduled quite quickly in order to prevent possible permanent nerve damage. Spinal stenosis causing sciatica can be addressed through various surgical procedures depending on the extent of the problem. If compression is indicated at a single level then a microendoscopic procedure may be possible, whereas larger problems ranging over a number of vertebrae will require more radical and invasive approaches. Back Surgery may simply prevent the condition from getting any worse, rather than relieving the pain and patients should discuss their expectations with their physician regarding sciatic nerve treatment through surgery.
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