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Sciatica relief: short-term vs. long-term

Jun
21
2011

Imagine pain radiating down the back of your leg; or needlelike tingling from your buttocks down the side of your leg.  These are just two common symptoms of sciatica, a form of nerve pain felt in the largest nerves in the body – the sciatic nerves.

Maybe you don’t have to imagine what sciatica feels like, you may already know. It is a common condition affecting about 5-10 of every 1000 people in America. For about 70% of people with sciatica, the pain goes away in about two weeks. But for some the pain remains and the typical treatment involves painkillers and/or surgery to remove a herniated disc.

Surgery vs. conservative treatment for sciatica

As you know, we at Caring Medicalcaution anyone considering surgeryas it usually does not address the root cause of the pain and has the potential to make the painful area worse. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal proves what we have been saying for quite sometime. In this study, groups of patients with sciatica pain were assigned to receive early surgery (within two weeks of diagnosis) or conservative treatment for six months. The conservative treatment consisted of pain medication, limited mobility and work with a physiotherapist if needed.

The results were not surprising to us. Early surgery provided faster leg pain resolution but the benefits of the surgery started wearing off within six months post surgery. Even worse, as the two year follow up rolled around patients reported that surgery was not as beneficial as it had been in the first few months and 20% of the patients reported that surgery was unsatisfactory. The patients who underwent prolonged conservative treatment had slower pain relief, but reported the exact same amount of healing one year after treatment started. In other words, in the short term surgery provided results, but in the long term surgery and conservative care had the exact same results. What’s worse is that many patients in both groups had recurring sciatica after surgery and conservative treatment.

So why did these patients, and so many more, experience recurring sciatic pain after surgery? In short, the root cause was not addressed. Sciatica results from a weakness in the sacroiliac joint, not from a herniated disc or pinched nerve. Surgical intervention for sciatica usually involves a discectomy where disc and or bone material is removed. Removing any material from a structure in the body makes it less stable. So the pain may be temporarily relieved, but the back is made even more unstable than it was before, causing even more pain down the road.

And why did the patients with conservative treatment have recurring sciatica pain? Again, the root cause was not treated. Instead, the pain was masked with painkillers, most commonly prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). NSAIDs have been shown to delay and hamper the healing in all the soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. So when used, they hide the pain but actually make the injury worse.

Short Term and Long Term Relief with Prolotherapy

The only long-term solution to chronic pain is Prolotherapy because it offers strength and healing to the structures of the body. In the study listed above, surgery did not provide long term relief and even the conservative treatment did not provide long-term relief. The “conservative” treatment involved painkillers and limited mobility that decrease blood flow to the injured area. The body can’t heal when healing factors cannot get to the injury site – blood flow is crucial to healing! Healing begins with the first Prolotherapy treatmentproviding gradual short-term relief and permanent long term healing.

If you want permanent relief think about long-term effects of your recommended treatments. Surgery that removes part of your lumbar spine can only lead to a weaker spine. Painkillers do nothing but mask the pain and worsen the injury. Prolotherapy induces a natural inflammation to bring blood and they body’s healing factors to the injury. The result is a natural strengthening of the spine that relieves pain for the long haul.

Don’t let back pain or sciatica wear you down. Choose a conservative treatment that provides maximum results – Prolotherapy! Call us today to learn more.

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