St. Louis Sciatica & Nerve Pain Treatment
Many people believe that sciatica is a medical diagnosis but it is more appropriately termed to be an underlying symptom of some type of lower back problem; these can be such things as spinal stenosis, a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. Most patients who suffer from sciatica experience pain that originates in their lower back and travels down through the buttocks and into the leg and feet. Pain associated with sciatica can be both excruciating and debilitating if it gets to a severe enough state and it can often be accompanied by numbness, weakness and tingling sensations at times too.
It is often identified by the following characteristics:
- Pain that gets worse when sitting down
- It’s often occurs on only one side of the buttocks or leg
- The pain can be described as burning and searing as opposed to just a dull ache
- It’s sometimes accompanied by numbness, weakness or difficulty moving one of your legs
- The pain can be so sharp at times it makes it hard to walk or stand
The sciatic nerve is by far the largest nerve that can be found in the human body. Sciatica pain usually occurs because the nerve has gotten compressed somehow in the lower back. The level of pain that results from sciatic nerve compression can vary substantially from one person to the next. It is extremely rare that this condition results in permanent damage to the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica pain rarely shows up before age 20 and is it its highest point of occurrence when a person reaches their 50’s. It is a condition that more commonly develops over time as opposed to being the result of trauma to the lower back. It’s rarely treated with surgery and often gets better within a few weeks or months of the start of treatment.
Common causes of Sciatica
Here are some of the most common causes why people suffer from sciatica pain:
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Most sciatica pain will lessen on its own without the help of surgery. Here are some common treatments for sciatica associated pain:
- Sciatica Exercises
- Heat or Ice
- Pain Medications
- Epidural Steroid Injections
Alternative Forms of Sciatica Treatment
There are also many all natural forms of medical treatment which have been proven to be very effective in treating sciatica nerve pain. Here are a few of the more popular forms of these types of treatments:
- Chiropractic Manipulation
These highly educated health professionals are commonly known as Doctors of Chiropractic. They specialize in making spinal adjustments that lessen pain and promote healing. By using ‘hands on manipulation’ to realign the spine they can both lessen and eliminate such pain causing conditions as pinched nerves. This form of treatment has had great success in dealing with sciatica related pain.
This healing art which originated in Asia promotes healing by opening up the natural nerve energy pathways that are found throughout the body. It is an FDA approved method for treating back pain and has also been recommended for treating sciatica pain by the National Institute of Health. It involves placing hair thin needles in specific places in the body that are known to relieve pain.
- Massage Therapy
This is another technique that not only can relieve sciatica pain but also can lessen stress too. It is known to improve blood circulation, relax tired muscles and stimulate the release of the body’s natural pain relievers which are called endorphins.
- Physical Therapy
Exercise plays a big part in the healing and strengthening of the spine and these medical professionals are excellent at establishing workout routines that help relieve and eliminate sciatica pain. They also use stretching and electrical muscle stimulation to speed healing and help to prevent the recurrence of sciatica pain.
The ultimate goal of any alternative sciatica treatment is to lessen sciatica pain and prevent its recurrence.
Exercise for Sciatica
The Great news for most patients is that sciatica problems will almost always get better on their own and often times this healing process takes place in only a few days or weeks. The vast majority of sciatica cases are healed in 12 weeks or less. Here are a few of the most common exercises that are done to lessen sciatica pain:
- Strengthening Exercises targeted at the lower back
- Low Impact Aerobic Exercise
Surgery to Treat Sciatica Pain
There are a few situations where people suffering from sciatica pain may opt to get surgery:
- Sciatica pain has lasted over 6 weeks
- Non-surgical methods are not working.
- Quality of life has been compromised by sciatica pain
- Bladder and bowel weakness are resulting from the sciatica condition
The decision to have surgery is almost always left entirely up to the patient. The good news is that when surgery is performed it helps to lessen the severity or eliminate sciatica pain over 90% of the time.