What Are the Facts on Sciatica?

Sciatica affects 1-2% of the population at any one point in time. It may cause excruciating pain, with the symptoms varying between patients depending on which nerve root is being Sciatica Treatmentpinched.

Anatomy

Sciatica refers to pain that originates in the low back and spreads or “radiates” down into a leg. It is a common symptom of spinal nerve root irritation usually due to a herniated (ruptured or prolapsed) disc. The spine is composed of a column of bony vertebrae interposed with cartilaginous discs.

The discs permit movement of the spine in bending, turning and rotating. They also serve as shock absorbers for compressive or rotational forces on the spine. Each Fort Lauderdale pain clinicdisc is made up of a semi-fluid interior core (nucleus pulposus) encased in a tough outer cartilaginous ring (annulus fibrosus).

The bony column of the spine encloses and protects the spinal cord. Individual spinal nerves leave the spinal cord, exiting the cervical spinal canal (neck area) below their corresponding vertebra to supply sensory and motor fibers to structures of the arm. Likewise, individual spinal nerves leave the spinal cord and exit the spinal canal in the low back and supply sensory and motor fibers to the structures of the leg.

Causes of sciatica

Over time, repetitive loading forces across the disc spaces (i.e., bending and heavy lifting) can cause small tears in the outer ring of the disc (annulus). Under these circumstances, the inner fluid-like material can leak out of the disc into the spinal canal and cause irritation of the spinal nerve. This irritation leads to pain along the course of the nerve and is experienced as buttock and/or leg pain (sciatica).                               Disc herniation treatment

In severe cases, the outer ring of the disc (annulus) may undergo a complete tear. This is called a disc herniation (disc rupture or disc prolapse). When this occurs, the interior semi-fluid core (nucleus) can escape the confines of the disc and freely enter the spinal canal.

Due to the location of the herniation, the spinal nerve is compressed.  Once again, this irritation of the spinal nerve leads to pain along the course of the nerve and is experienced as buttock and/or leg pain (sciatica).

Signs and symptoms of Sciatica

The lumbar nerve root most commonly involved in sciatica pain is the fifth lumbar nerve root (known as L5). Usually, there is a history of some type of overexertion using the back muscles. The presenting symptoms are low back pain, buttock pain on the affected side and numbness and/or pain on the lateral surface of the lower leg (on the outside of the calf area). If the motor fibers of the L5 nerve root are involved, there will be weakness of the ankle such that the foot will “drag” as the leg is pulled through during swing phase.

Treatment for sciatica

Conservative treatment of a herniated lumbar disc consists of nonsteroidal

Fort Lauderdale pain management

Epidural Injection

anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen), bed rest and physical therapy. Often, opioid medication will be required for adequate pain control. Epidural corticosteroid injections can significantly alleviate symptoms.

Surgery is reserved for those cases where conservative measures fail and for those cases where there is significant or progressive numbness and/or weakness. The goal of surgery is to remove the portion of the disc that is intruding on the spinal canal and nerve root.

For quality Fort Lauderdale pain management, Complete Care Medical Center offers top back and neck pain treatment along with sciatica and all types of chronic pain conditions.

Treatment is offered on a self pay basis, call (954) 271-2327 for more information and scheduling with pain management Fort Lauderdale trusts!

What Is Spinal Stenosis? Info from a Fort Lauderdale Pain Clinic

Spinal stenosis affects millions of Americans causing pain and limited ability to walk. With aging, spinal stenosis commonly occurs due to arthritis in the spine. Here is an overview.

Anatomy

The spine is composed of a column of vertebrae interposed with intervertebral discs. The Fort Lauderdale pain clinicspinal cord is enclosed and protected by the bony elements of the spine. Over time, these structures are prone to degenerative change.

This is the result of cumulative compressive, rotational and shearing forces related to repetitive bending, lifting and the simple wear and tear of aging. Spinal stenosis, very simply, is prominent arthritis of the spine.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

The intervertebral discs undergo dehydration and loss of height with aging.  As a result, the vertebrae themselves are drawn closer together producing increased loading forces across the facet joints. The facet joints are where the vertebrae articulate with each other via true synovial joints.

Pain Management Fort LauderdaleMuch like any other true joint in the body, they are prone to arthritic change. Arthritis progresses from minor damage to the cartilage lining to bony “spurring” of the adjacent bone. As bone attempts to heal itself, it tends to form new bone. This overgrowth of bone results in “spurs.” This phenomenon can also occur at the edges of the vertebrae themselves. Additional degenerative change of the ligaments of the spine results in thickening and stiffening of these structures.

When all of these degenerative changes are very prominent in the spine, they can cause concentric narrowing of the spinal canal and actually compress the spinal cord. This occurs in the cervical spine (neck area). When spinal stenosis affects the low back or lumbar spine, compression can occur of the tail end of the spinal cord (the conus medullaris) or of the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerves as they exit the spinal cord.

This bundle of nerves is called the cauda equina. Arthritis can also lead to narrowing of the foramina which are the openings through which the spinal nerves exit the spinal canal.

Signs and symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis is most common in the cervical and lumbar regions. Severe cervical spinal stenosis can lead to compression of the cervical spinal cord.  This is a dangerous situation which can progress to weakness of all the limbs and bowel and bladder disturbances. Pain clinics in Fort LauderdaleLess severe cervical stenosis can cause a painful stiff neck with or without irritation of the cervical spinal nerves (cervical radiculopathy or “pinched nerves”) which can present with arm, shoulder or upper back pain, arm weakness and/or numbness.

Similarly, lumbar stenosis causes low back pain with or without signs of nerve root irritation.  Patients typically report relief of symptoms with flexion (forward bending) of the lumbar spine and worsening with extension (backward bending of the spine).

Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

Conservative treatment consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical Pain management Fort Lauderdale FLtherapy and epidural steroid injections. Patients may benefit from activity modifications. Instead of walking upright, bending forward over a walker or shopping cart may be better tolerated.

Stationary biking while leaning over the handlebars is a useful form of exercise for persons with lumbar stenosis. Use of a recliner instead of a straight-back chair may also relieve lower back pain due to lumbar stenosis.

Medication management may be very effective for easing the pain of spinal stenosis which may include NSAIDS, muscle relaxers, neuropathic medications or short term narcotics.

One of the gold standard treatments for spinal stenosis is epidural steroid injections. These Fort Lauderdale pain clinicmay be performed as a series of injections and have over a 75% chance of providing excellent results.

Complete Care Medical Center offers Fort Lauderdale pain management services on a self pay basis with several Board Certified pain doctors. Patients are seen from a broad area throughout South Florida and appointments are readily available.

Call (954) 271-2327 for more information and scheduling today!