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An important thing to understand is that sciatica is a symptom of a problem — of something compressing or irritating the nerve roots that comprise the sciatic nerve — rather than a medical diagnosis or medical disorder in and of itself. This is an important distinction because it is the underlying diagnosis (vs. the symptoms of sciatica) that often needs to be treated in order to relieve sciatic nerve pain.
The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.
Disc herniations and bulges have played a major role in severe low back pain and/or leg pain (sciatica). Over 90% of disc herniations occur in the lumbar spine (low back) and is more prevalent in the male population. Lower back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in this country.
It is very important in confirming that your lower back pain is a result of a disc problem. Our staff is skilled and trained in performing the proper testing to ensure that your low back pain is diagnosed correctly. Orthopedic tests are performed during the examination and plain film x-rays are taken if necessary. Based on our findings, if a disc herniation or condition is suspected, we will make the appropriate referral to order an MRI to confirm our findings and determine the stage of your disc injury (early, moderate or advanced).
Low back pain and/or leg pain can be associated with a variety of disc problems. Thinning discs, bulging discs, herniated discs, facet syndrome and degenerating discs can all be linked to low back pain and/or sciatica.
If you are diagnosed with one of these conditions, we will determine the extent of your injury and recommend the type of treatment you will need. If you disc condition is in the early stage, conservative care is indicated and proven successful. This includes hands-on therapy, gentle rehab, exercising and rest.
If your disc condition is in a moderate stage, spinal decompression is indicated and proven successful. Spinal decompression is a safe, non-surgical treatment which is specifically designed for herniated discs. This treatment is effective by decompressing the spine (lengthening of the spine) which will help pull disc material back into place. This treatment plan is longer in duration and requires certain lifestyle changes.
If you disc condition is in the advanced stage or degenerative stage, then in most cases the disc has dried out (rotted) and the joints exhibit severe lipping and spurring. At this stage surgical consultation is indicated. We will help make the appropriate referral for you.