Understanding And Treating Sciatica

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Sciatica is a condition thousands of doctors help patients with yearly. The condition is a blunt pain starting in the lower back, running down the buttock, thigh, and leg. Pain varies from person to person. But the condition can be so painful, patients are sometimes out of commission. Luckily, outpatient surgical procedures like a lumbar microdiscectomy can provide much-needed relief.

More than nerve pain

Sciatica is a symptom of something deeper happening with the spine. The spine has bones called vertebrae with several jobs like protecting the nerves in the spinal column. Between those bones are discs, important for flexibility and shock absorption. Over time, these discs can become herniated and put pressure on surrounding nerves. Another condition could be spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column due to wear and tear.

Having surgery

Lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure proven to relieve sciatica. The goal is to give the sciatic nerve the breathing room needed to function. To start, surgeons make a small incision in the lower back, moving the muscles to get access to the spine. Surgeons then remove a small part of the surrounding facet joint and herniated disc to give the sciatic nerve the relief needed.

You’re in good hands

The procedure relieves pain almost immediately and has an excellent success rate. In fact, a follow-up study of patients years later showed an 84% success rate in long-term relief. With over 300,000 procedures performed yearly in America, patients can also expect safety, with improvements in technology and techniques occurring often.

The painful reason for lumbar microdiscectomy

The question then arises. Should patients have a lumbar microdiscectomy to treat sciatica? Fortunately, spinal doctors take great care in giving patients the best treatment. In fact, healthcare professionals try nonsurgical procedures to relieve pain first. A clear sign for surgery is if medicine, exercise, or physical therapy prove ineffective. If the pain gets worse over the course of treatment, the next step is a lumbar microdiscectomy.

Mental and physical factors

Non-invasive procedures work in relieving sciatic nerve pain. However, treatment takes time to bear fruit, needing discipline and consistency to reap the rewards. Persons with a lower threshold for pain may opt for surgery to get immediate results. Or if the patient has an active lifestyle or important job, surgery gives the ability to return to duties quickly.

The bottom line

Back pain is a part of life, with 80% of the population destined for some type of pain. Sciatica brings about numerous questions, many of which are in this handy article. Getting informed makes treating the condition easier. Furthermore, doctors and patients are on the same page when choosing lumbar microdiscectomy as a viable solution.

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Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Spine Surgeon

Dwight Tyndall, MD, FAAOS

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