What is Sciatica?
Everyday, thousands of people will modify their activities of daily living in an effort to not aggravate an ailment known as Sciatica. Movements such as bending, lifting or even standing can trigger the intense shooting pain that radiates from the lower back and into the buttocks or legs that most refer to as “Sciatica”. However, what most are unaware of is that Sciatica is not an actual condition, but a symptom of an underlying spinal condition.
What is the real cause of Sciatica?
At each level of the spine there are nerve roots that exit on both sides of the spine and each of these nerves control a motor or neurological function. One of these nerves, the sciatic nerve, is the longest continuous nerve in the human body and runs from the lumbar spine through the buttocks and into the foot. When a spinal disc becomes herniated, or bone spurs form on the joints of the spine, the sciatic nerve can become irritated or impinged, causing the symptoms of Sciatica.
Most commonly, a lumbar disc herniation between the L4-L5 vertebrae or L5-S1 vertebrae is the cause of the irritation to the sciatic nerve. In other instances, Sciatica can be the result of lumbar Spinal Stenosis or a condition that causes reduced height of the discs between the vertebrae, known as Spondylosis.
What Treatments are Effective for Sciatica?
For many people, conservative therapies such as physical therapy can be effective in reducing the effects of Sciatica. The goal of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and abdomen (core muscles), which will help in maintaining proper alignment of the spine.
If physical therapy is not effective, decompressing the sciatic nerve via a surgical procedure may be necessary. Fortunately, several Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery options exist for those patients considering surgery. One procedure, known as a Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy, uses a small incision and small surgical tools to remove only the herniated portion of the spinal disc that is causing irritation to the sciatic nerve.
This approach has been made possible by substantial advances in surgical technology. Specifically, the use of fluoroscopic guidance, which allows surgeons to visualize the anatomy of the spine and placement of surgical instruments using real time X-rays. Traditionally, the only way to gain visual access to the spine was using an open procedure and accessing the spine through a large incision. The Minimally Invasive Approach also uses small surgical instruments that are places between the muscles of the spine in an effort to avoid the dissection of these muscles, which allows the body to heal much more quickly after the procedure.
About New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery
New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery is led by Dr. Dante Implicito and Dr. John Koerner and has offices in Glen Rock and Maywood, NJ. Both physicians have extensive training and experience in the utilization of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery techniques and have been putting these practices to use for almost a decade. While here at New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery, all steps in your treatment will be clearly reviewed with you by our outstanding and expert team. Our goal is to ensure your return to the healthy and active lifestyle you enjoyed in the quickest and most effective way possible. Each patient is an individual and must be treated like an individual. Our doctors emphasize a personalized and individualized treatment plan for all of their patients that aim to ensure that each patient is educated and informed when it comes to their procedure.