Besides a healthy diet and adequate back exercise, there are other options too to treat sciatica without surgery, says pain specialist Hitesh Patel
Sciatica is a symptom caused by lumbar disc herniation and the pain generally affects the back, hip and leg. Simply put, the disc between two lumber vertebra compresses over existing nerve roots and causes pain in one or both legs. Symptoms of sciatica include tingling and numbness in one or both legs, increase in pain while walking and standing and partial or complete relief while resting on it in a lying down position.
The condition can arise from irritation of sciatic nerve or its fibers, lumbar disc herniation, degenerative vertebra and muscle inflammation, injury or a tumour. All these can cause sciatica.
When you sense any of these symptoms, take rest, preferably even bed rest for a few days. Besides rest, you must avoid bending forward, and watch out against lifting of weights and sitting on the floor. In case the pain persists, consult an expert. If you think the pain has reduced, then the conservative approach with medicine and special exercise for four weeks does the trick. There are several treatment options for sciatica. For acute and less severe pain, rest and medicine can be helpful.
Pain management includes treating such diseases with a technique called intervention. Intervention is a small injection technique which addresses the root cause of the problem so as to avoid surgery.
Lumber injection and disc decompression:
There are two lines of treatment for sciatica, transforaminal block and percutaneous disc decompression. In the former, a lumbar epidural injection near the nerve roots decreases swelling of the spinal nerve and gives relief to the patient. Those who have chronic severe pain and cannot be treated with a simple injection, need to have part of the disc removed through a technique called percutaneous disc decompression. In this technique that provides long-term relief, a special instrument is used under x-ray guidance to remove a slipped disc from the back. Using this procedure, hospitalisation, surgery and intense rehabilitation, which are required in conventional surgery, are avoided.
Sciatica can be prevented by following some simple steps such as not lifting excessively heavy weights (if required to lift weights, you must bend from the leg instead of the back), doing back exercises and eating a healthy diet.
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