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Sciatica


Hear Dr. Purcell talk about sciatica.

Inflammation of the Sciatic nerve The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, and/or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, there can be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles tingling. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body.

Sciatica occurs most frequently in people between 30 and 50 years of age. Often a particular event or injury does not cause sciatica, but rather it tends to develop as a result of general wear and tear on the structures of the lower spine.

The pain mostly comes from irritation and then inflammation of the nerve.

Sciatica Symptoms

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and has branches of itself exiting the spine from L3 to S1. The branches then come together to form the large sciatic nerve that runs all the way down the back of each leg. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the pain might be infrequent and irritating.

Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis.

I’m going to say that again. Sciatica is a symptom — this is an important distinction because it is the underlying diagnostic condition that needs to be treated in order to relieve sciatic nerve pain.

What is the conventional treatment of sciatica?

Treatment is centered on relieving both of these factors. The Conventional approach involves Non-surgical treatments such as:

  • exercise and stretching.
  • Muscle relaxers and pain killers.
  • Surgical options include, microdiscectomy to remove the portion of the disc that is irritating and/or pressing on the nerve root.

What are the causes of sciatica?

The clinical diagnosis of sciatica is referred to as a "radiculopathy", which means simply that a disc has protruded from its normal position in the vertebral column and is putting pressure on the radicular nerve.

Lumbar herniated disc. A herniated disc is sometimes referred to as a slipped disk, ruptured disk, bulging disc, protruding disc, or a pinched nerve and sciatica is the most common symptom of a lower back herniated disc. A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner core of the disc (nucleus pulposus) extrudes or “herniates” through the fibrous outer core (annulus) of the disc, irritating the contiguous nerve root as it exits the spine.

It is thought that a sudden twisting motion or injury can lead to injury of the ligamentous tissue holding the vertebrae together which allows the disc to herneate througth the vertebrae, around the over stretched ligament on onto the nerve root causing sciatica symptoms. A Good example of this can be demonstrated in golfers during a golf swing. Additionally, discs can weaken due to repetitive stress and the final result is a herniation.

Degenerative disc disease. While disc degeneration is a natural process that occurs with aging, in some cases one or more degenerated discs can also irritate a nerve root and cause sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed when a weakened disc results in excessive micro-motion at the corresponding vertebral level and inflammatory proteins from inside the disc become exposed and irritate the area (including the nerve roots).

Piriformis syndrome. The sciatic nerve can also get irritated as it runs under the piriformis muscle in the rear. If the piriformis muscle irritates or pinches a nerve root that comprises the sciatic nerve, it can cause sciatica-type pain. This is not a true radiculopathy (the clinical diagnosis of sciatica), but the leg pain can feel the same as sciatica caused by a nerve irritation. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Laxity of the sacroiliac joint at the bottom of the spine can also irritate the L5 nerve, which lies on top of it, and cause sciatica-type pain. Spinal stenosis & vertebral collapse.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

Sciatica is diagnosed on the symptoms a patient has, namely mild to moderate low back pain with debilitating pain radiating down one leg. Sciatica can be diagnosed on Lumber MRI where degenerative disc disease or a lumbar disc herneation or bulge can be visualized

Natural treatmetns for sciatica?

In my practice I treat sciatica using a combination of Joint Injection therapy called Prolozone, streatching exercises, trigger point injections and natural anti-inflammatories. This combination is so effective because the Prolozone injections help strengthen the ligaments around each vertebrae this reverses the disc bulge and takes the pressure off the inflamed nerve root. Trigger point injections reduce muscular spasm which allows tissues to relax back to their normal state. This helps greatly with piriformis syndrome.

Success rates

If the cause of a person’s sciatica is due to anything other than spinal stenosis or vertebral body fracture and collapse, there is a 90% success rate in healing from sciatica naturally. Luckilly 90% of sciatica cases come from the other causes mentioned above and are best treated with natural therapies.

 
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Patient Testimonials

“Dr. Purcell, it was wonderful to meet you, I appreciate your thoroughness and your knowledge as well as your approach to complete wellness. Thank You!”

~ C.W., Newport Beach

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