sciatic nerve inflammation - Avoid the Top 3 Sciatica Mistakes!
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Avoid the Top 3 Sciatica Mistakes!

Because of pain and a lack of understanding of their condition, sciatica sufferers may make some costly long-term mistakes when it comes to handling their problem.


What is Spinal Stenosis? Spinal stenosis is a medical condition where the spinal canal becomes narrow. This narrowing can put additional pressure and compression on the spinal cord and can cause a pinching of the nerve roots. If the narrowing is in the lower part of spinal cord it is referred to as lumbar spinal stenosis and if the narrowing is in the upper part of the spinal cord then it is referred to as cervical spinal stenosis. While stenosis can also occur in the thoracic or upper back region, the lumbar and cervical areas are the most common.


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What are the causes behind the pain of sciatica? Sciatica is usually associated with compression of the sciatic nerve due to a slipped or a herniated disc. A degenerative disc disease is a condition that is brought about by the ageing process. The sciatic nerve is sometimes pinched by the piriformis muscle that is located deep in the buttocks. Sciatic pain can also be caused by conditions that are not related with disc. Bad postures can also lead to pseudo sciatica, a pain that is similar to sciatica.

Learning about potential risk factors and taking appropriate action will help ensure a stronger, more flexible, and healthier lower back. By Dr. Ralph Santonastaso

One primary risk factor relates to exercise. Everyone has heard, "if you don't use it, you lose it". If you're not exercising regularly, your back muscles are deconditioned and much more susceptible to injury - the strains and sprains we're accustomed to calling "back pain".

In most cases, medical history is able to identify patients that are likely to have a herniated disc. Sciatic pain is superficial and localized. It also gives a feeling of numbness or tingling. It aggravates when pressure is applied between discs.

Who Can Get Spinal Stenosis? Although some people are born with spinal stenosis, the condition is usually seen in people over the age of 50 who already have some disc degeneration. Often, spinal stenosis results from the wearing down on the spine from normal activities. As we get older, our spinal ligaments can calcify, bone spurs may form, and we can get herniated or ruptured discs. All these conditions can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal which can compress and pinch the spinal nerves.

About the Author:

Dr. George Best has been treating people with sciatica and piriformis syndrome since 1992. To receive a free ebook on Sciatica Exercises and a video information program on understanding and managing sciatica, visit his website at http://www.sciaticaselfcare.com .

Risk factors for back pain may also be found in your personal and family medical history.2,3 During your initial visit your chiropractor will ask you about accidents and surgeries you've experienced, and discuss any important elements in your family history. For example, surgery to remove an inflamed gallbladder or appendix or to repair a hernia may result in weakened abdominal muscles. A motor vehicle accident or a fall from a height may have caused injuries that healed with soft tissue scarring.

If the pain is acute, then surgery may be needed in order to widen the spinal canal and to correct the conditions that are contributing to the nerve compression. Some of the surgical procedures used to treat spinal stenosis are:

Treating Spinal Stenosis In general doctors tend to take a conservative approach when initially treating spinal stenosis. Drug therapy such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling are usually prescribed first, along with bed rest and reduced physical activity. Steroid injections can also be use to help reduce swelling although the pain relief is normally temporary. Traction and spinal decompression may be prescribed, along with physical therapy which can be used to help increase flexibility as well as build endurance.

There are many easy-to-do exercises for your abdominal muscles. The key is to actually do them - and do them after you're finished doing the rest of whatever exercises you've scheduled for that day. How often? Three times a week is plenty. Abdominal routines are quick - no more than 10 minutes. And, remember to use your abdominal muscles throughout the day. Imagine your abdominals are being pulled in and lifted up. This is not a "tightening" - your thought should be "activate". Your body will know what to do, once you've started adding consistent abdominal training to your exercise routine.

Diagnosing sciatica is a complex procedure. Since the pain can be indicative of other conditions as well, it is also necessary to rule out more serious conditions like infection or cancer. Sciatic is a progressive disease that can immobilize the patient to a great extent. Sciatica alternative remedies like exercises, yoga and acupuncture can be very effective to stem the progress of a highly developmental condition. On the first signs of pain in the lower back an examination by a specialist is highly recommended.

Are there risk factors for back pain? And, if there are, what can I do to keep myself healthy and well? Your chiropractor can help answer these questions and more.

* X-Rays * Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) * Computed Tomography (CT) Scan. * Electromyography - passing an electric current through a nerve to record the electrical waves associated with the activity of skeletal muscles. * Myelography - X-rays done after injecting a contrast medium into the space between vertebrae.

http://www.gardenstatepainrelief.com/1

1Jones MA, et al. Recurrent non-specific low-back pain in adolescents: the role of exercise. Ergonomics 50(10):1680-1688, 2007 2Cherniack M, et al. Clinical and psychological correlates of lumbar motion abnormalities in low back disorders. Spine J 1)4):290-298, 2001 3Plouvier S, et al. Biomechanical strains and low back disorders. Occup Environ Med 2007 (in press)

Decompressive laminectomy. This is used for treating lumbar spinal stenosis and involves removing the top of the vertebra to create more space for the nerves.

Due to the risks involved, many doctors will resort to surgical treatments only after non-surgical treatments have been tried first. This article is not meant to replace the sound advice of a personal physician. Patients should discuss with their doctor all their treatment options before taking any medical course of action.

A related risk factor is weak abdominal muscles. When you were a kid, at some point one of your gym teachers probably told you to "suck in your stomach". Actually, it turns out that was pretty good advice. Your abdominal muscles support the muscles of your lower back. If your abdominals are weak or if you're not using them - letting them hang out and droop instead of keeping them activated - your body weight has to be held up by the muscles of your lower back. They're not designed to do that - they're designed to move your spine around. And eventually, these lower back muscles will give way under the excess strain. The result is a very painful lower back injury.

 
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Physical examinations include the following procedures. * The patient may be asked to lie down, face upward and the affected leg is then raised to various heights. * The doctor may also ask the patient to rotate the hip joint. Pain caused by these movements can often help in pinpointing the location of the pain and assessing the hip muscles. * Testing the strength of bending backward of the ankles and toes can also indicate the position where the nerve is likely to be pinched. * Another test used by many doctors is the reflex of your ankles.

The third mistake people, including doctors, often make regarding sciatica is to view it as a condition that can be "cured". Because most people continue to engage in the activities that caused the underlying disc problems to develop that produced sciatica in the first place, the vast majority of sciatica sufferers will experience repeated episodes, usually becoming more severe and more frequent over time. This is due to the fact that the disc issues that initially produce the sciatica tend to grow worse over time if they are not managed appropriately. Once again, it is not safe to assume that a resolution of symptoms means that the problem has gone away. In fact, what happens in many cases is that the spine and discs gradually degenerate over time, making the person more and more susceptible to sciatica episodes. Eventually, the degeneration can become so severe that there really is no effective treatment, and many people are left with chronic, debilitating pain.

Fortunately, in most cases, sciatica can be managed effectively simply through an awareness of potentially damaging activities and positions and through simple exercises one can do at home. Long-term pain and disability are avoidable, if one makes the necessary effort to perform the necessary exercise regimen on a regular schedule and to avoid movements, activities, and postions that can be damaging to the discs of the spine, such as incorrect bending and lifting, and poor posture (especially sitting posture). Long-term problems can be avoided by putting forth just a small amount of effort to manage sciatica on an ongoing basis over time.

Muscles get stronger when they're required to do work. Also exercise helps "train" the soft tissues around a joint - the ligaments and tendons - these supporting structures "learn" how to withstand mechanical stresses and loads without becoming injured. Basically, when you exercise - when you do any kind of exercise - your body gets "smarter" and you're less likely to get those annoying back problems.1

The exception to the rule of considering surgery as a last resort is in the rare case of severe neurological compromise known as "cauda equina syndrome", which may be indicated by a loss of bowel and/or bladder control, sudden severe weakness in one or both legs, and/or "saddle anaesthesia" (a loss of sensation in the lower buttocks and inner thighs). Except in the rare instance of cauda equina syndrome though, it is generally better to avoid surgery if possible.

Symptoms such as a disability in walking suggest nerve root compression. In cases symptoms that are severe enough to consider a surgical intervention the physical examination is mostly followed by other investigative procedures. To confirm any doubts the physician might ask for, the doctor might perform any or all of the following tests:

The first mistake is rushing into a surgery. Although the vast majority of surgeons are not anxious to perform surgery on sciatica cases, there are a few who do recommend surgical treatment right from the start, and without even attempting any other type of treatment. Sciatica resolves in approximately 80% of cases without surgery. Even when surgery is successful initially, the development of scar tissue and abnormal mechanical stresses on the spine adjacent to the surgery often lead to future problems. Given that low back spine surgery overall has about a 50% long-term success rate and people treated surgically often wind up worse than they were prior to surgery, it should be reserved as a treatment of last resort.

A physical examination and the medical history of the patient are very important for diagnosing sciatica. The doctor needs to eliminate normal back pain or lumbago before proceeding for sciatic nerve treatment. There is always a possibility that a difference in lengths of the two legs may cause pain in the lower back.

About the author:

Richard provides articles and information about herbal remedies on his site at http://remedyguidance.com

The second mistake sciatica sufferers often make is returning to normal activities too quickly once symptoms improve. The vast majority of true sciatica cases are due to bulging or herniation of one or more discs in the lumbar spine, and the inflammation that typically is associated with such disc problems. In many cases, slight improvements in inflammation can result in dramatic symptom improvement. Many sciatica victims mistakenly believe they are back to normal as soon as they feel better, but the reality is that the bulging/herniated disc is far from fully healed, and too much exertion too soon can easily trigger a recurrence of symptoms - sometimes even more severe than they were to begin with. Even professional physical therapists sometimes make the mistake of pushing a patient to do too much too soon, with the result being a return or increase in sciatica symptoms.

Laminotomy. This is a partial removal of the lamina which can be done to widen the spinal canal and relieve compression on the nerve roots. Foraminotomy. Removal of bone, scar tissue, or other obstructions that are compressing the nerve root exiting the spinal canal.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include back pain radiating to the legs, numbness or pain in the buttocks that worsen when walking or exercising, leg weakness, decreased physical endurance, loss of balance, and leg and neck pain.

About the Author:

For more information on spinal stenosis treatments and alternatives to back pain surgery see DRX9000 spinal stenosis treatment at http://www.drx9000-spinal-decompression.com, a popular site with free information on DRX9000 spinal decompression and other back pain treatments.


Anna R. Guidry

 
 
     
 
 





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