Sciatica is a very common neuropathic pain that is caused by damage to the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs from the lower back region down the end of each leg. It is the largest single nerve in the body.
This condition affects around 4 out of 10 people at some point of their lives. The nature of the pain varies from a mild ache to a sharp stinging sensation and may cause feelings of numbness and extreme weakness.
Causes of Sciatica
The causes for the onset of Sciatica are numerous. Some of them are as follows:
How can physical therapy help?
There are many ways of treating Sciatica, such as medication, acupuncture and surgery, which can provide relief. The most common and easy treatment method however is physical therapy. A progressive and controlled exercise routine that is specifically tailored to the nature of the condition in consultation with a physical therapist acts as an effective remedy in treating the problem. It alleviates pain and also eliminates the chances of relapse.
Physical therapy exercises used to treat Sciatica are of many types. They are a combination of core strengthening, muscular stretching and aerobic conditioning routines, which aim at correcting the root of the problem.
The different types of exercises employed to treat Sciatica include the following:
Minimally invasive spinal surgery is a quicker and safer alternative to open surgery. The spinal discs, vertebrae and nerves are present deep inside the body. A small incision is made and the surgical instruments and a camera is inserted which push aside the muscles and reach the problem area.
Which medical conditions can be addressed with minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Degenerative Disc Disease (osteoarthritis of the spine)
2. Herniated Disc (the disc protrudes from its right place)
3. Spinal Tumours
4. Vertebral compression fractures (collapse of the vertebra)
5. Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space near the spinal cord)
6. Scoliosis (the spine curves sideways)
7. Spinal infections
8. Spinal instability
What are the goals of minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Decompression: this procedure eases the pressure being exerted on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. This pressure can be the cause of pinched nerves.
2. Stabilization: sometimes, a segment of the spinal cord that has come loose can be the source of pain. A stabilizations surgery fuses the segment to the rest of the structure.
The three most common methods of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
1. Tubular: it is also called ‘muscle splitting’ surgery. A tubular retractor passes through the muscles of the back and reaches the spine.
2. Mini-open: it is a lot like open surgery but with fewer risks and blood loss. The possibility of post-operation infection goes down significantly.
3. Endoscopic: it is also called a keyhole surgery. A small camera is introduced through a small incision and guided to the spine. The camera gives an internal view of the spine to the doctors.
The three types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery are-
1. Microdiscectomy: involves the removal of the intervertebral disc that is putting pressure on the spinal cord.
2. Foraminotomy: spinal conditions can lead to narrowed foramen (the area where the spinal nerve exits the spine). The aim of the surgery is to expand the foramen.
3. Microlaminectomy: this is yet another type of decompression surgery. The aim is to relieve pain caused pinched nerves or a segment of the bone pressing down on the nerves.
What are the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery?
• Speedy and pain-free recovery after surgery
• A patient is discharged the same day
• Very little loss of blood
• Reduced chances of infection
• Less scarring because the operation is done through small incisions
• Less muscle damage
Are there any risks attached to minimally invasive spine surgery?
No surgery is free of risks or side effects. Some common problems in the aftermath of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
Minimally invasive spinal surgery incorporates the latest advances in the world of technology. It is the relatively hassle-free procedure and convenient for both doctors and patients.
Nerve pain or peripheral neuropathy, as it is medically known, is characterized by pain, numbness and weakness that arise out of nerve damage. This pain is usually restricted to the feet and the hands.
What are the common causes?
Diabetes is the most common cause for this condition. However, other causes, such as injuries, infections and prolonged exposure to certain toxins can also trigger nerve pain.
How can you control nerve pain?
Nerve pain can be managed and taken care of at home taking into consideration the points that have been mentioned below:
Topical Painkillers: Certain over the counter ointments and creams can help relieve nerve pain. These medications act as local anesthetics; that is they numb the area of the pain. Capsaicin, a derivative of chili peppers, is one of the major ingredients used in these medicines. Others use botanical oils as the major ingredients.
Supplements: The lack of Vitamin B12 is considered to be a very important cause, and at times, a catalyst for nerve pain. In a case such as this, Vitamin B12 supplements or injections might be administered. Although more research needs to go into this, but certain supplements, especially gamma-linolenic and alpha-lipoic acid can help soothe nerve pain caused by diabetes.
Physical Therapy and Massages: Physical Therapy can especially heal and strengthen weak muscles that can stem from acute nerve damage and pain. Though more evidence is needed, according to a few sufferers of this condition, massages can be helpful with the tremendously painful muscle spasms that can so often result from nerve pain.
Relaxation Techniques: In combination with the above mentioned approaches, relaxation techniques can go a long way in relieving debilitating neural pain. Besides being helpful with dealing and reducing a few stress phases of life which can cause nerve pain, these techniques might actually root out the actual pain itself.
Lifestyle Modifications: This one’s always a winner! Eating a well-balanced diet that guarantees all nutrients in uniform amounts can never go wrong. Regular exercises for about 30-45 minutes can remedy different types of pain; nerve pain being one of them. Try and limit alcohol intake (a peg once a week won’t harm one, but binge drinking can play the ultimate spoilsport and make all health plans go topsy-turvy!). Abstain from smoking or chewing tobacco as this is usually the primary contributor towards any medical condition or disorder.
If topical and oral medication do not work, radio frequency ablation of the affected nerve is the only option. It is minimally-invasive percutaneous Intervention under Xray guidance done under Local Anaesthesia.
Ayurveda looks at each person on an individual basis and takes a holistic approach with an Ayurvedic practitioner looking at restoring all the bodily functions when dealing with back pain or musculoskeletal disorders. There are many different causes for back pain varying from stress, poor posture physical trauma, poor diet, and lifestyle to name a few, and for that reason, this approach is essential for a long lasting result.
Kati Basti is a musculoskeletal treatment for disorders that involve muscle (mamsa), ligaments, bones (ashti), vertebrae and nerves (majja). Symptoms associated with such disorders are inflammation, pain, stiffness and restricted movements.
One of the most commonly seen causes in today’s modern world is the increase of sedentary occupations and many hours spent sitting at a computer where the back loses its strength, with the addition of poor body posture, lack of mobility and stress, over the years this can accumulate to severe back issues that need a specific therapy that works on a very deep level other than just a regular massage.
Kati Basti massage is a very beneficial treatment specific for lower back pain, sciatica, herniated and ruptured discs cervical pain, stiff neck, whiplash, migraines frozen shoulder, shoulder bursitis, RSI, knee pain, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, dislocated shoulder, thoracic discomfort, knee and wrist problems and giving in the thoracic area for when ones is holding onto a lot of emotions.
In Ayurveda the doshas involved
The Dhatus or tissues involved and how there qualities relate to musculoskeletal disorders
A well made of dough from black lentil flour, is placed over the problem area and filled with medicated oil heated to a specific temperature and held at this temperature for a specific period of time. This helps to soften the rigid, tight and hard tissue which results in easing pain and increasing mobility of the affected area.
Once the dam is removed a back massage is given followed by a herbal steam treatment to help deepen the overall effect of the treatment.
Benefits of this treatment are many, the use of heat, the oil and the specific technique used to result in a profound healing process, as the treatment not only repairs the damaged tissue but also rejuvenates the area.
The benefits of the warm medicated oil work to
: Soften and loosen dry and tight muscles
: Decrease stiffness and create elasticity in the muscle and surrounding tissue
: Ease muscle spasm and increase range of motion
: The aid of heat from the oil helps to
: Dilate local blood vessels to increase blood flow
: Increase in blood flow can reduce pain
: Heat reduces swelling thereby reducing pressure on nerve endings
: Blood flow aids in the healing process
This treatment is much more than a massage technique it is a specific therapy for musculoskeletal disorders.
Herbal Ayurveda Treatment & Home recommendations Integrative medicine
Many Ayurveda herbs also work to aid the healing process from those suffering from discomfort, in the form of natural, anti pain, anti-inflammatory, anti spasmodic, herbs that stimulate movement of blood to speed up the healing process. These complex Ayurvedic formulations work well in conjunction with treatment and home care using Ayurvedic oils. Home recommendations in the form of Yoga therapy can also be made.
Many sports people can also benefit from this treatment as it helps to strengthen the muscle tissue and increase mobility all of which can enhance an all-around sports performance.
If your spinal cord or nerve roots become severely compressed as a result of cervical spondylosis, the damage can be permanent.
Homeopathic remedies for cervical spondylosis-
Trigeminal Neuralgia is basically a nervous disorder that can affect any person. The condition is caused mainly due to the trigeminal nerve or the 5th cranial nervebeing pressed against by a blood vessel. Cases have been reported without such specific underlying causes as well. The condition can cause light to severe pain and is treated through a combination of medication and other external stimulations.
Things you need to know about Trigeminal Neuralgia
Nerve pains can become unbearable sometimes and have to be treated immediately. The best way is to first take a combination of drugs to control the pain and then use electric stimulation and other methods of external applications to remove the pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia is specified by the condition of a chronic pain that influences the trigeminal nerve. This nerve transfers sensation from one’s face to his/her brain. If a person is suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, then a gentle stimulation of face (sourced from brushing teeth or applying makeup) might generate a fright of agonizing pain. The affected person might experience short and mild attacks initially. However, the trigeminal neuralgia might progress and generate more-frequently and longer attack of severely critical pain. Women get affected by this situation more than men get and it is more prominently occur in individuals older than 50 years.
Trigeminal neuralgia does not mandatorily mean that you need to experience a lifelong pain. Various types of treatment alternatives are available and so doctors can usually handle the particular condition effectively by taking help of injections, medications or surgery. Various types of triggers might cause the pain regarding trigeminal neuralgia, such as eating, drinking, shaving, brushing teeth, touching face, smiling, washing face etc.
The symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia might comprise of one or more patterns and some of these are described below:
How does Radiofrequency Ablation treat Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic and painful condition that involves the trigeminal nerve. There are two separate trigeminal nerves on both sides of the face, which carry the sensations like pain from the face to the body. Each nerve has three branches- forehand, midface and chin and trigeminal neuralgia can cause intense pain in any of these areas.
The pain can be mild and for a shorter duration or it can happen frequently for longer durations. Some experience the pain in cycles where it can come and go for days or even for weeks. Gradually the intensity of the pain lessens.
Cure by Radio-frequency Ablation
The treatment of trigeminal neuralgia is often a challenging process in clinical practice. When medicines do not prove as effective, surgery is the desired option.
How Effective is Radio-frequency Ablation?
The pain is cured almost in 98% of the patients. 50% of patients report recurrence of pain after about two years. Hence the procedure can be repeated in the same patient if necessary.
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. The high blood sugarfrom diabetes affects the nerves and over time increases a person's risk for nerve damage. Keeping blood sugar levels within the target range recommended by your doctor helps prevent diabetic neuropathy.
Types of Diabetic Neuropathy:
Diabetic neuropathy can be classified as Peripheral, Autonomic, Proximal, or Focal. Each affects different parts of the body in various ways...
Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves that control involuntary body functions such as digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual response, and perspiration. It can also affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure, as well as nerves in the lungs and eyes. Autonomic neuropathy can also cause hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which people no longer experience the warning symptoms of low blood glucose levels.
Proximal neuropathy causes pain in the thighs, hips, arms, or buttocks and leads to weakness in the legs and hands, resulting in difficulty in walking, standing, picking up objects, buttoning your clothes, etc.
Focal neuropathy results in the sudden weakness of one nerve or a group of nerves, causing muscle weakness or pain. Any nerve in the body can be affected.
How Diabetes Causes Damage to the Nervous System?
There are several factors that are likely to contribute to nerve damage through diabetes...
Prevent Diabetic Nerve Damage:
Keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range, set with your doctor, may help prevent nerve damage from ever developing. The best way to do this is by checking your blood sugar and adjusting your treatment. It is also important to get to and stay at a healthy weight by exercising and eating healthy foods.
If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult the doctor and ask a free question.
Cranial nerve palsy is one of the common culprits of causing double vision. This is all the more true for people above the age of 60. A person is more prone to cranial nerve palsy if he is suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. This is the reason why this disease is more commonly known as diabetes palsy. Eventually, though they get better and the problem of double vision disappears.
One weak cranial nerve leads to the weakness of other cranial nerves as well. In case the eyes fail to move together, chances are that the patient will have double or blurred vision. In case the sixth nerve gets affected, side to side double vision is encountered. For the 3rd and 4th nerve disturbance, there could be a vertical double vision. The lack of blood flow causes pain to the eye.
Possible Causes of Cranial Nerve Palsy?
Cranial nerve palsy can result from traumatic or congenital factors. They can also result from vascular diseases such as strokes, hypertension, diabetes, and aneurysms. It can also arise out of infections, increased intracranial pressure, migraines, and tumours. A patient's age and clinical findings help a doctor decide the right course of treatment.
There are no particular treatments which can speed up the recovery of cranial nerve palsy. In a case of pupil pain, doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and Advil. They key to natural recovery is to ensure that the blood sugar and the blood pressure is diligently controlled. By patching the eyes, the problem of double vision can be resolved. They are typically worn over both the eyes. They are however known to slow down the process of recovery and strain the eye. There is no known exercise to fix this condition. Botulinum injections are sometimes used by doctors to straighten the eyes but the result of such a treatment greatly varies from person to person. Doctors mostly rely on watchful waiting until the phase passes within 6-8 weeks. Pain medications are recommended on a case to case basis.
Managing cranial nerve palsy can be difficult for a working person. It involves many lifestyle changes till the condition fully cares. Some of the suggestions given by an ophthalmologist include resting the eye as long as one can. Reading or working on a computer should be eschewed since it puts great pressure on the eyes. The eye should not be contacted with forehands in case there is too much pain. Other basic hygiene issues include taking the medicine time to time, cleaning the eye with fresh water two to three times a day, putting the eye drops on time as prescribed by the doctor.
The human body goes through aches and pains from time to time depending on injuries and other kinds of joint, muscle and nerve pain. The various types of pain include somatic pain, visceral pain, and neuropathic pain. While somatic pain refers to pain that comes from injuries caused to muscles, connective tissues and joints; visceral pain happens due to inflammation and excessive stretching of organs.
Read on to find out more about pain management:
Somatic Pain: This bone pain is usually localised and can increase with movement, becoming sharper with increased motion. Somatic pain can usually be treated with the help of analgesics that can treat the pain area, especially for pain that takes place due to surgical incisions and other dull aches or sharp pains that are localised. This kind of pain can also be treated with physiotherapy, acupressure and other exercises based on the area of the pain.
Visceral Pain: While this kind of pain can be treated with the help of medication, it also usually improves and fades with time. The medication for this kind of pain usually alters the neurotransmitters of the brain that convey pain signals and trigger pain in the body. This medication also helps in bringing down the inflammation for pain improvement.
Neuropathic Pain: This kind of pain is usually accompanied by irregular limb movements and discomfort as well as motions like twitching. It is a more permanent kind of pain that lasts long and causes greater discomfort than the above two kinds of pain. Neuropathic pain can be treated with the help of anticonvulsants that usually help in the prevention of nerve pain and irregular movements that can trigger off this kind of pain. It also acts on the serotonin levels and other chemicals of the brain for better nerve pain management and as an anti-depressant as well.
The various kinds of pain discussed above can be treated in different ways, in medicated and non-medicated ways. The method will also depend on whether the pain is acute or chronic.