I'm a 58 year old man with a herniated disc pressing on my sciatic nerve. L5-S1. I have pain in my back & down my right leg for the last 18 months. Two nerve blocks gave me relief for a few months, but now it's worse than ever. Can barely lift my right leg to get into my car. Affecting my life & job. I've tried the back exercises the doctor suggested. I think I'm ready for surgery and would like your opinion. Thank You
Let's paint a picture or how and why a nerve can suddenly become pinched. Understanding the cause makes it ever so much easier to determine an effective solution.
Excessive stress or injury to a disc weakens the outer fibers. As the outer fibers weaken, parts of the interior of the disc bulge out and the disc compresses or loses height. As it loses height it follows that the vertebrae above and below get closer together decreasing the amount of space (spinal stenosis) through which the spinal nerve root exits. As the bulge increases and the space decreases the spinal nerve root that exits at that level is also compressed (pinched). This leads to muscle spasms and inflammation (swelling) further diminishing the space for the nerve; and, because the normal mechanics (movement) of the joints are disturbed, interferes with the normal pumping action supplying nutrition to the disc. Starved for adequate nourishment the outer fibers of the disc become drier and weaker (degenerate) accelerating the process.
A nerve block is basically a painkiller injected into the involved site. There are also painkillers in pill form as I'm sure you're familiar. But, think about it like this: What if you slammed your finger in a car door? Pinching the finger nerve like that hurts, so would a painkiller in one form or another help? Of course, but I hope it's obvious that you would also need to open the door. Surgery is done with the goal of removing the bulge. No bulge - no pinch. This sounds as though it were an ideal solution, however, excising bulging disc tissue doesn't change the fact that the remaining tissue is still dry and weak and so it tends to happen again necessitating surgery again.
One would hope that eventually a better mouse trap would be developed. Spinal Decompression Therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment performed on a special, computer controlled table similar in some ways to an ordinary traction table. A single disc level is isolated and by utilizing specific traction and relaxation cycles throughout the treatment, along with proper positioning, negative pressure can actually be created within the disc. It works by gently separating the offending disc 5 to 7 millimeters creating negative pressure (or a vacuum) inside the disc promoting the retraction of the bulging disc tissue. This negative pressure also pulls water, oxygen, and nutrients into the disc, thereby re-hydrating a degenerated disc and bringing in the nutrients needed to begin the healing process.
Spinal Decompression is an effective, safe, and cost-effective procedure without the risk of drugs, injections, surgery, or anesthesia. Spinal Decompression not only significantly reduces pain in many patients, but also enables the majority of patients to return to more active life styles.
I would suggest that you seek out more information about spinal decompression.
Dr. Michael L. Hall, D.C. practices at Triangle Disc Care in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in Spinal Decompression for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain due to herniated, degenerated discs. This is a conservative procedure for patients suffering with bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, posterior facet syndrome, sciatica, failed back surgery syndrome, and non-specified mechanical low back or neck pain.
For more information call 919-571-2515, click on www.triangledisc.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Type "Free eBook - 101 Things I Need to Know about my Bad Back" into the subject line.