Sciatica and Cold Laser Solutions by Dr. Robert Hanson.

Description of Sciatica
Sciatica is a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve or related nerve roots in the low back are being compressed or pinched. There are several ways the sciatic nerve can become compressed. The most common is when the low back vertebrae above and below the exiting nerve are malpositioned and put pressure on the nerve. In addition, in the case of a herniated disc, bulging disc, and protruding disc it is the discal material that extrudes from the disc space that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Finally, sciatic pain can also be caused from degenerative disc disease (loss of cartilage), spinal stenosis, and muscle spasms. When a patient experiences sciatica they typically complain of pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the low back, buttock, behind the hip and down the back of the leg. Sciatic pain can be described as mild to intense. In more severe cases of sciatic nerve pain, patients will describe it as an electric shock type pain that often shoots down the back of the leg into their foot and big toe.

Others may complain of their leg feeling numb or feeling like their ‘leg is asleep’. Most patients may feel a deep ache in the leg that may become more intense at night when they are trying to sleep.  Radiculopathy specifically low back (lumbar) and peripheral neuropathy may be other terms used to describe sciatica.

Symptoms of Sciatica Can Include:

  • Pain that can start from the back, to the buttocks, down into the leg, in the calf, or sometimes into the foot.
  • Tingling or numbness anywhere from the low back, buttock, leg, calf, or foot.
  • Electric shock pain or shooting pain down your leg.
  • Burning sensations in your leg or foot.
  • Symptoms usually affect only one side of the lower body.
  • Partial leg or foot weakness.
  • Symptoms may be constant and vary from mild to severe.
  • Standing, walking, or sitting can make symptoms worse.

In conclusion, sciatica can produce a number of symptoms including but not limited to; pain in the buttocks, in the hamstring (back of the legs), calf and foot, sensation changes, burning, tingling, numbness, decreased sensation, and/or weakness. In addition, coughing, sneezing, and other sudden movements could intensify pain if the sciatic nerve is caused by a disc problem.

*It is important to know that loss of bowel/bladder function can constitute a medical emergency. Please call your doctor or 911 and seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Causes of Sciatica
There are several reasons an individual may experience sciatic pain. First, if the vertebrae above and below the sciatic nerve are malpositioned this can cause a ‘pinching of the sciatic nerve.’ Additionally, disc problems can cause sciatica. Whenever the disc becomes weak, or brittle or degenerated it allows the discal material to bulge through the weakened outer sheath of the disc. As a result, the sciatic nerve or associated nerve roots in the low back get compressed.

A common cause of sciatica is from a protruded disc, bulging disc, herniated disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc. Other conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and bone spurs can result in sciatica as well. Finally, muscle spasms for example in the piriformis muscle can also contribute to sciatic nerve pain.

Direct trauma or fractures to the hip, buttocks, pelvis, or low back can also cause injury to the sciatic nerve. In addition, patients with cancer, tumors, cysts, and abscesses in the lower back have a higher prevalence of sciatic nerve pain, and should consult their doctor to find out if a growth is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots.

Treatment of Sciatica
Individuals suffering with sciatica are usually treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, injections, and surgery. These traditional treatments only cover up the pain by treating the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. These are antiquated solutions that are often ineffective and temporary. Even low back surgery has been found to be ineffective and costly and often leads to disability.

“My treatment protocol differs very slightly from Dr. Hanson’s only where I substitute chiropractic adjustment in the appropriate areas. The combination or Cold Laser and chiropractic provides  provides the patient with a non-invasive, painless, and effective solution for the treatment of sciatic nerve pain.”