Back to the Basics: Sciatica 101
Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Sciatica
What is sciatica?
More than half of Americans will experience sciatica in their lifetime. Usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 64, sciatica symptoms are characterized by low back pain radiating into the legs and/or feet and often accompanied by numbness and tingling into the feet and toes. 90% of sciatica cases are the result of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, or lower back, that causes compression of the nerve root resulting in the strange symptoms such as the numb or tingling toes, also known as radiculopathy. Other risk factors that have been identified include height, mental stress, smoking, and occupational factors such as driving and high physical activity such as bending and twisting.
“I was in the construction business and therefore always bending, lifting, twisting… it took its toll on my back and resulted in sciatica that eventually limited my life terribly…I’m so glad I found Deuk Spine Institute. I am 100% better and back to my old self,” says Paul who suffered wit sciatica pain and other symptoms for years before making the move to get into treatment. He remembers, “I wish I had done it earlier.”
In cases where a disc herniation is compressing the nerve root and causing these symptoms of pain in the lower back, thighs and legs, numbness in the toes and feet, and tingling in the legs and feet there is a new solution offering not a temporary fix, but a cure– and it does not involve major surgery.
The first step to proper treatment of sciatica is properly diagnosing the condition that is causing the bothersome symptoms. An MRI of the affected area in the spine will give your surgeon a good idea of what could be going on but this is not the only diagnostic step that needs to be taken. A discogram should be performed in which the surgeon can accurately gauge the herniated disks’ role in the pain by injecting the discs with dye while capturing images and response. This test will determine if your herniated disc is the culprit. Herniated discs that do not cause pain do not need surgical intervention.
Once the herniated disc is confirmed the cause of the pain and sciatica symptoms, a plan for surgical treatment can be discussed. The newest alternative to traditional spinal fusion surgery is the minimally invasive laser spine surgery, Deuk Laser Disc Repair® at Deuk Spine Institute. Deuk Laser Disc Repair® uses an endoscope (tiny camera) and a laser through a ¼ inch incision to repair the herniated disc and the painful sciatica without removing any bone or destabilizing the spine. This procedure for treating sciatica takes 45 minutes and is performed outpatient. The effect of the surgery is felt immediately. Patients wake up without the sciatica pain they’ve become so accustomed to and with renewed feeling in their legs, feet and toes.
“It feels strange because I haven’t felt my toes in so long,” Deuk Laser Disc Repair® patient Judy reveals following her surgery for sciatica. Judy’s sciatica treatment cured the numb toes and feet as well as the pain that she had been limiting her life around for years. (See patient testimonial videos here.)
Do you have symptoms such as pain in the lower back, thighs and legs as or numbness and tingling in the feet or toes? Would you like to find out if you are a candidate for sciatica treatment at Deuk Spine Institute? Fill out the form below to download our comprehensive guide to surgical treatment of sciatica and herniated discs, 'Questions to Ask Your Spine Surgeon'.