Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Herniated Disc and Sciatica? Now What?

Our office sees quite a few patients who suffer with disc problems and sciatica.  They come mainly from referrals from other patients who have had great success in our office.  I would be willing to bet that the reason our success rate is so high is due to the whole process and plan the patient goes through in order to correct their problem.  Typically if you have a disc injury,  it is most likely not the primary cause to your underlying problem.  Yes, the injured disc can be putting pressure on a nerve sending pain or numbness into a leg, but its still not the primary cause.  What is the primary cause you might ask?  Well there are multiple reasons a disc becomes injured and most of these reasons fall under the umbrella of a structural deficit in the spine or frame of the body. Huh?

Let me give you an example.  A patient comes into our office with lower back and leg pain.  They have an MRI demonstrating a herinated disc at L4-5.  Over the past five years, they have tried prescription pain killers and anti-inflammatories, cortisone shots, physical therapy, chiropractic, yoga, acupuncture, massage, and exercise.  Some of the above mentioned strategies may have given a little symptomatic relief, but the pain always returned.

During a consultation I explain what our office focuses on, (structural correction of the spine), why that is important, (its the foundation that dictates the function of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and DISCS), and what indicators we are going to look for in the exam to see if their structure is abnormal.  The patient begins to realize that they have not had an exam like this and nobody has really explained in very clear terms how this can be causing their pain.

The patient agrees to have the structural exam and can then see for themselves, the indicators of structural abnormalities.  The first indicator was a short leg due to structural collapse of one of their feet causing their pelvis to be tipped and rotated to one direction putting compression abnormally one side of the disc.  The second indicator was a significant loss of the normal lumbar lordosis (normal side curve) causing increased compression on the discs. Two of the indicators were so obvious for the patient to see in the exam, they were wondering why nobody else made mention of this.

There were more findings in this exam, but to get my point across  I only need to discus those two.  Since there was a structural component to the injury, anything but structural correction will give short term relief at best.  Everything else the patient had tried previously might be successful for simple inflammation and weak muscles, but they didn't address the primary cause.

Even if this patient had spinal surgery, it would not have fixed their structure leaving them with a weakened foundation (the spine) and most likely problems in the future.

You might be thinking at this point, "how do you fix this person's structure?"  Again, every case is different.  Its not a cookie cutter approach.  In this case, we needed to give the patient a treatment plan that corrected, as much as possible, all the abnormalities we found.  The treatment plan included structural corrective adjustments with about 5-6 other corrective procedures performed in the office.  The patient was also fitted for foot correctors and instructed to wear them in their shoes.  Lifestyle and nutritional modifications were reviewed and reinforced to minimize any unnecessary flare-ups.

End result was a very happy patient with a new lease on life!

If you or someone you know has a disc problem, sciatica, or you feel that may have a structural problem give our office a call at 781-825-5555.  Consultations are complementary.  Its a conversation, not a commitment.

Have a great day!

Dr. Deane

1 comment:

  1. Disc pain. When a patient has a symptomatic degenerated disc (one that causes low back pain and/or leg pain), it is the disc space itself that is painful and the source of pain. This type of pain is typically called axial pain. Herniated Disc Treatment include conservative treatments which are successful in reducing pain and discomfort, the patient may choose to continue with them. For those patients who experience severe pain and a high loss of function and don’t find relief from conservative treatments, surgery may be considered as an option.