In most cases, sciatica will resolve on its own or with conservative treatments such as cold and heat packs and stretching.
Edison, NJ (PRWEB) January 10, 2012
Atlantic Spinal Care, a national leader in endoscopic spine surgery, announces that they have created new web pages to educate sciatica sufferers on the newest treatment options. Sciatica is often associated with pain in the leg or backside, a burning or tingling that radiates down the leg, numbness or weakness, or a shooting pain that makes it hard to stand. According to Kaixuan Liu MD, PhD, chief surgeon at Atlantic Spinal Care, “In most cases, sciatica will resolve on its own or with conservative treatments such as cold and heat packs and stretching. But if the pain hasn’t responded to therapies in six to twelve weeks, or if there is significant muscle weakness, surgery might be necessary. The good news is that there are new options available today to best treat sciatica.”
When Sciatica Surgery Makes Sense
“The main purpose of sciatica surgery is to decompress the nerve,” Dr. Liu explains. "Today we are able to offer patients minimally invasive surgeries to treat sciatica. The two most common surgeries for sciatica are discectomy or foraminotomy, which use a small endoscope—a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end—that allows the surgeon to decompress the affected nerve by removing the bone or other tissue that’s causing the compression. In an endoscopic procedure, the incision is tiny—less than 10 mm—and the patient’s discomfort and recovery time is much less than with traditional surgery,” Dr. Liu says. “It allows up to get to the root of the patient’s pain—literally—and treat it quickly and efficiently, so patients can get back to their lives with no more pain.” As a general rule, approximately 90% to 95% of patients will experience relief from their sciatica pain after this type of surgery.
Sciatica is a type of pain that’s related to the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, which branches out from the lower spine down into the back of each leg. Sciatica can start with compression or irritation of one of the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve, or with compression or irritation of the nerve itself. Thus, it’s critical to know which nerve is being irritated—and what’s causing that irritation—in order to treat sciatica effectively.
For example, Dr. Liu explains, the nerve might be affected by a bulge or herniation in one of the discs in the lower back, a narrowing of the canal that carries the spinal nerves (spinal stenosis), or a misalignment of the vertebrae (spondylolisthesis, or “slipped disc”). In some patients, sciatic pain is caused by a spasm or tightness in the piriformus muscle, which runs from the lower back to the top of each femur. This is known as piriformis syndrome (or “wallet sciatica,” as the pain can be triggered by sitting on a wallet that’s carried in your hip pocket).
About Dr. Liu: Kaixuan Liu, M.D., Ph.D., is a renowned endoscopic spine surgeon and founder of Atlantic Spinal Care, LLC, in Edison, New Jersey (http://www.atlanticspinalcare.com).
Dr. Liu is certified by The American Board of Pain Medicine and The American Board of Anesthesiology, and is a member of The International Society for Advancement of Spine Surgery, The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), The International Intradiscal Therapy Society (IITS), and The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). He also serves as an international surgeon for The Spinal Foundations in England.