What is Slipped Disc & Sciatica and How Can It Be Treated?
Know about slip disc and sciatica. Before jumping on the topic, would like to explain a couple of things about our Spine. So how our spine is going to look, the top part, the bottom part, the front part and the back part. Spine has got multiple bones which are stacked up on top of each other just like a building block. In the front the bones are supported by a cushion, which is called as an intervertebral disc. In the back, they are held together by joints; together they are supported by muscles which are the core muscles of our body. And within the spine, runs the nerves; these yellow structures are the nerves which are coming out at every level, okay.
Now, these discs are like jelly foams, they are full of water, and basically whenever you are moving around, whenever you are bending, whatever load that comes on the body is absorbed by these jellies. There are times when these jellies start drying up and then the load-bearing capacity of your spine starts going down. At certain stage, if there is unnatural loading on the spine, these jellies can break and come out, okay, when it does, it goes and hits on your nerves and this causes severe inflammation around the nerves and pain going down to the leg. Now, these nerves are called as sciatic nerve, hence the name sciatica. So whenever the disc comes out, it hits on the nerve and the pain starts. There is also a mechanical pressure on the nerve which can lead to symptoms of tingling, numbness, heaviness and at times weakness.
In today’s generation, with the more demand that we are putting on our spine, the cases of sciatica and slip disc related problems are on exponential rise. If you identify and treat it at the correct time, 80% of these problems can be easily managed in treating the spine is identification of how bad the problem is, once we have jumped to the treatment. It involves reduction of the pain by putting the patient to rest, using some local therapies like ice bags and physical therapies and also anti-inflammatories, with these the inflammation goes down and the pain can come down. Once we have relieved the patient of pain, the next step that is involved is getting the patient back to his full form, which means rehabilitation. By strengthening the muscles around the spine, we tend to decrease the pressure from the disc which has come out and also relieve the pressure from the nerves.
There are certain patients, in spite of all the anti-inflammatories that we use, the pain just doesn’t go down; in that, we can help them by injecting medicines directly around the nerves, which is absolutely safe daycare procedure, which relieves the pain, and then the next step that is a physiotherapist can start working on the spine and relieving the pressure of the nerves. Out of 100, there are these 5-6 patients, in spite of all the treatment that we follow, the pressure from the nerve just doesn’t get released, and these patients usually present with a dull nagging pain, which just keeps bothering them, difficulty in walking, tingling, numbness, heaviness, they are not able to stand for long hours and they need to sit down. Here, we can release the pressure from the nerve surgically. Good old days, this used to be done by open techniques where there used to be a lot of damage of the muscles, changing of the body bio-mechanics, and these patients used to be on prolonged rests, and getting back to activity used to take a lot of time. In today’s generation with newer techniques and microscopes and endoscopes, this has become a daycare surgery wherein we just without damaging the muscles a lot, we just pick out the fragment which is offending the nerve and free the nerve. These patients typically get discharged within 24 hrs, are back to work within 2 weeks, and essentially in full normal healthy lifestyle by 2 months. So, that’s more or less about sciatica and slip disc.
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