West Orange, NJ (PRWEB) December 28, 2012
Atlantic Spine Center in New Jersey announces new web content found at the Atlantic Spine Center website on sciatica; causes, symptoms and new treatments, to help educate people suffering with the condition and seeking information. Lower back pain affects more than forty million people in the United States alone and is the leading cause of disability in people under age 45 worldwide, according to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It is reported that one in ten Americans will suffer from sciatica or similar conditions in their lifetime. The sciatic nerves are the largest and longest nerves in the body; they run down the back of each leg.
“Sciatica pain occurs when these large nerves are irritated or affected by the inflammation of nearby soft tissue,” says Dr. Kaixuan Liu, founder of Atlantic Spine Center. In most cases patients with acute sciatic pain recover within several weeks; however, a small minority of people will develop chronic sciatica. Dr. Liu offers information about what every patient should know about the newest approaches to treating sciatica.
“Symptoms of mild sciatica can be eliminated with conservative treatments or in some cases the condition may even heal on its own,” notes Dr. Liu. “As a first step we encourage patients to try some of the following; alternating cold and hot packs, stretching, exercise, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, acupuncture and over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation.” In some cases we recommend a gel which is administered through an injection that contains sponge-like particles that repair damaged spinal discs, which cushion the vertebrae.
New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that epidural steroids provided better relief for some patients with sciatica than some anti-inflammatory drugs. While it was previously believed that mechanical problems such as degenerative disks or arthritis caused the vast majority of sciatica back pain, nerve-related pain can be a significant factor.
Dr. Liu explains that in cases where a patients’ pain worsens or symptoms haven’t improved after 2 to 3 months using conservative approaches, we recommend sciatica surgery to remove part of the ruptured disc that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. Dr. Liu highlights that minimally invasive surgeries are offered today 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 is causing the compression.
“In an endoscopic procedure the incision is tiny, less than 10 mm, and discomfort and recovery time for the patient is much less than with traditional surgery,” Dr. Liu says. In general, approximately 90% to 95% of patients will experience relief from their sciatica pain after this type of surgery.
Causes of sciatica
The degeneration of aging discs, combined with sudden pressure, is a common cause of sciatica in people between 30 and 50 years of age. In addition, other factors are known to cause sciatica such as a pelvic fracture, ruptured intervertebral disc, or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) that puts pressure on the nerve. In some cases women experience sciatica during pregnancy and there is even some evidence that a thick wallet a back pocket can be hazardous to the lower back. However, in many cases no cause can be found.
Sciatica symptoms can include weakness, numbness or tingling, usually on one side of the body and the radiating pain may be worsened by sitting. If symptoms of sciatica persist for more than a week, Dr. Liu says patients should see a physician. He adds that patients should seek immediate medical care if they experience sudden, severe pain that follows an injury or traumatic event, or if they have trouble controlling their bowels or bladder.
About Dr. Liu: Kaixuan Liu, M.D., Ph.D., is a renowned endoscopic spine surgeon and founder of Atlantic Spine Center in Edison, New Jersey (http://www.atlanticspinecenter.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.