A pinched nerve can cause sciatica

Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of a pinched sciatic nerve — the largest nerve in the body located next to the lumbar spine in the lower back. These symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.

A pinched nerve can cause sciatica when a damaged part of the lumbar spine leaves the natural alignment of the spine and presses against the sciatic nerve. Any nerve root can become compressed by a herniated disc, a bulging disc, bone spur or another degenerative spine condition. Typically these conditions occur with the natural aging process of the spine, leading to a slow development of pain and symptoms.

Using holistic methods to treat sciatica

When you have a pinched nerve that is causing sciatica, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to begin a treatment regimen for pain relief. While holistic methods are not typically considered to be part of traditional modern medicine, these pain relief techniques have been helping people for hundreds of years and have grown in popularity during the last several decades. Some of these methods include:

  • Yoga — A meditative Indian practice of breathing and stretching that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation, strength, pain relief and overall health. Particular poses are especially beneficial for discomfort in the lower back.
  • Acupuncture — The ancient Chinese practice of inserting hair-thin needles into various areas of the body. Nerves respond to the needles and “scramble” the pain signals being sent from your lower back.
  • Massage — Massage, similar to chiropractic work, focuses on kneading superficial muscles and connective tissue to reduce pain and promote healing, though massage does not usually involve spinal realignment.
  • Biofeedback — A therapy that changes the way your brain interprets and responds to pain signals. Electrodes are used to find out how your body responds to pain, then steps are taken to alter your behavior to avoid triggering those pain signals.

Additional treatment options

If holistic methods do not offer you the relief you require for your pinched nerve and sciatica, you can also try pain medication, low-impact exercise, epidural steroid injections and hot/cold therapy.

If pain persists and your physician suggests surgery, you should know that there are options other than traditional open spine surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to treat the most common spine conditions, including the conditions that cause the sciatic nerve to be compressed. Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are designed to remove pressure from the pinched nerve by removing a small portion or all of the damaged disc or bone spur that is causing the nerve compression. In some instances, an artificial disc or bone grafts may be needed to support the spine after a damaged disc has been removed.

Because our minimally invasive procedures are performed through a small incision and do not disrupt the surrounding muscles, our patients can experience a safer and effective procedure with a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about the minimally invasive procedures we offer that are performed on an outpatient basis.

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