Sciatica is a common term for pain that originates in the lumbar spine and radiates into the buttocks, legs and feet. Sciatica sufferers often have difficulty climbing stairs, walk long distances or getting a good nights sleep. However, many people are unaware that Sciatica is not actually a condition but rather a symptom of an underlying spinal condition.
The sciatic nerve is the longest continuous nerve in the body as it begins in the lumbar spine and extends down through each leg. In most cases, Sciatica is the irritation of the L4, L5 or S1 spinal nerves as a result of a herniated disc, Spinal Stenosis or other spine condition that causes compression of one of these nerves. It is important to seek medical attention at the onset of this condition, as it may indicated injury of a spinal nerve. If treated early, the pain will subside with no lasting nerve damage. However, if left untreated, irreversible damage to the nerve can occur causing chronic pain and potential loss of certain functions of the leg.
Luckily, Sciatica can be treated using several modalities including:
1. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is a safe and effective method of treatment for many musculoskeletal disorders affecting the extremities and the spine, including Sciatica. Our chiropractic physicians will take a thorough history, perform a physical exam and in certain cases, will order imaging to help identify what is causing your sciatic complaint.
The chiropractic treatment at OSM would then focus on improving function, reducing irritation to the sciatic nerve, restoring your range of motion, and strengthening the muscles of the core and abdominal region.
Dr. Pagliaro Haywood and Dr. Barnes work side-by-side with the other members of our spine team to individualize your care. For your convenience, they treat patients in the Fairfield, Shelton and Trumbull locations.
2. Physical Therapy
If Sciatica is in its early phases and is not constant, Physical Therapy can be very effective in reducing the pain and discomfort caused by the pain. The goal of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and abdomen (core muscles), which will help in maintaining proper alignment of the spine and take pressure of the segments of the lumbar spine responsible for the pain.
At The OSM Center, we provide on-site Physical Therapy in our Trumbull, Shelton and Fairfield offices. Our expert Physical Therapy team uses the latest advancements in Physical Therapy to get patients back to a healthy and active lifestyle.
3. Physiatry and Pain Management
Interventional techniques are often used in conjunction with Physical Therapy to maximize pain relief. These techniques include corticosteroid and pain relief injections that specifically target the spinal nerves and reduce the symptoms associated with Sciatica. These safe and effective interventional procedures are provided by fellowship trained Physiatrists, who are experts in treating conditions of the spine and spinal nerves.
At The OSM Center, our Physiatry Team is led by Dr. Isaac Cohen and Dr. Gene Tekmyster. Both doctors work closely with the Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Sports Medicine, Spine Surgery and Orthopedic Specialists at OSM Center to create a unique treatment protocol for each patient.
4. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
If Physical Therapy and Pain Management are not effective, decompressing the spinal nerves via a surgical procedure may be necessary. At OSM, we are experts in the use of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery options for those patients considering surgery.
One option is a procedure known as a Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy. This procedure uses a small incision and small surgical tools to access the spine and remove only the herniated portion of the spinal disc that is causing irritation to the spinal nerve. By removing portions of the disc, the nerve is no longer compromised, with healing allowing to take place.
One of the most significant benefits of this approach is that the small surgical instruments are placed between the muscles of the spine, as opposed to dissecting the muscles as was necessary with traditional spine surgery. This allows the body to heal much more quickly after the procedure and significantly reduces scarring and recovery time.
At the OSM Center, Board Certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Dr. Gerard Girasole leads the Spine Surgery Team. Dr. Girasole is on the forefront of Minimally Invasive surgical techniques for patients with neck and back pain and he is very active in the training of other surgeons in the various techniques. The multi-disciplinary Spine Team at OSM Center gives you the advantage of collaboration between diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitation experts to create the ideal treatment plan for your unique case.
If you, or someone you love, is suffering from Sciatica, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our Spine Experts!