Aug. 28, 2012
-- According to Dorland's Medical Dictionary, Sciatica (sciatic neuritis) is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body. Pain can be severe in prolonged exposure to cold weather.
Although sciatica is a relatively common form of low back pain and leg pain, the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is irritating the root of the nerve, causing the pain. This point is important, because treatment for sciatica or sciatic symptoms often differs, depending upon the underlying cause of the symptoms and pain levels.
Sciatica is generally caused by the compression of lumbar nerves L3, L4 or L5 or sacral nerves S1, S2, or S3, or by compression of the sciatic nerve itself. This is typically due to muscular imbalances located in various parts of the body, often on the opposite side from where the pain is felt. For example, a misalignment in the left shoulder and neck can cause compression on the right side of the lumbar. When sciatica is caused by compression of a dorsal nerve root it is considered a lumbar radiculopathy (or radiculitis when accompanied with an inflammatory response). This can occur as a result of a spinal disk bulge or spinal disc herniation (a herniated intervertebral disc), or from roughening, enlarging, or misalignment of the vertebrae, or as a result of degenerated discs that can reduce the diameter of the lateral foramen through which nerve roots exit the spine. The intervertebral discs consist of an annulus fibrosus, which forms a ring surrounding the inner nucleus pulposus. When there is a tear in the annulus fibrosus, the nucleus pulposus (pulp) may extrude through the tear and press against spinal nerves within the spinal cord, cauda equina, or exiting nerve roots, causing inflammation, numbness or excruciating pain. Sciatica due to compression of a nerve root is one of the most common forms of radiculopathy and is often postural caused by an anterior pelvic tilt.
For this common form of back pain, Hernandez is a proponent of spinal decompression therapy. This process involves computerized mechanical pulling, which removes excessive pressure from the spinal discs. Decompressing the spine alleviates pressure on intervertebral discs and nerves, and elongates soft tissues to reduce spasms. The end result is a significant reduction of chronic pain and discomfort of the lower back.
A diagnosis that's treated in its early acute stage will more likely respond favorably than a diagnosis that's treated once it reaches its chronic stage. This means that tolerating the pain is definitely not your best option.
To find out what solutions Dr. Ivan Hernandez and his amazing team have to treat your back pain and sciatica in Westchester NY, call today to make your appointment .
Yonkers: 914.509.4640 | Elmsford: 914.909.5130