How 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, tingling and weakness 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. To learn about the various treatment options available to treat sciatica caused by a pinched nerve, read the following article.
Using holistic methods to treat sciatica
When you have a pinched nerve that is causing sciatica, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor 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 ancient Indian practice of breathing and stretching that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation, strength, pain relief and overall health. Particular poses in yoga 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. Similar to chiropractic work, massage focuses on applying pressure to 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 sciatica 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 or cold therapy. If pain persists after several weeks or months and your doctor 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 relieve 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 that does not unnecessarily disrupt the surrounding muscles, our patients can experience a safer and effective procedure with a shorter recovery time^ compared to 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.
At Laser Spine Institute, our commitment to minimally invasive procedures have made us the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, allowing us to help more than 75,000 patients get their lives back from chronic neck and back pain. To find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our sciatica procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for our free MRI review.* We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.