Some people get confused with the sharp shooting or cramping pain in their hip or into their calf or leg. It can be an easily confusing feeling and instead of a cramp, it may be sciatica. Pressure on the spinal discs puts pressure onto the sciatic nerve which then leads to either low back, hip, buttocks, thigh pain and sometimes further down the nerve into the calf lower leg and foot. This can be a low level pain or an incredibly intense pain that stops your entire life. The most common symptoms of sciatica are:
-pain that worsens when seated
-increased pain with coughing, sneezing or straining on the toilet
-stabbing pain in your hip, buttock or leg
“Although each leg has its own sciatic nerve, sciatica usually affects only one side of the body at a time,” says Hani Malone, MD, a neurosurgeon at Scripps Clinic. “Sciatica is caused by pinching of the nerves in the lower back, usually from spinal arthritis or a herniated disk. The severity of symptoms varies. Some people have severe, constant pain that impacts their daily activities and even causes weakness. Others may have only mild or occasional pain.”
Treatments for sciatica vary and the typical treatments unfortunately do not focus on fixing the cause of the symptoms only the symptoms themselves. These treatments are:
We have a different approach to sciatica treatment. First, we need to consider why is the patients having these symptoms in the first place? Did they have a acute injury, a chronic problem, did they recently spend an excessive amount of time in a seated position, did they recently do some physical work or heavy lifting?
Then we need to perform a proper physical examination to exact their diagnosis so we know what treatments should be applied.
Next, we may need to perform x-rays and or MRIs depending on the severity of the condition and what the examination reveals.
Lastly, if the patients sciatica is being caused form a herniated, bulging, "slipped" disc, compressed disc, which they usually are then we may be able to accept their case and treat them. We utilize 4 specific criteria to determine if we can accept the patient so that we can do our very best to continue to have very high successful outoomes with treatment.
Our treatment program is unique to the individual and custom tailored to their condition. There are 3 main components of effective sciatica treatment.
1. Avoidance - there are certain things that need to be avoided for a patient with sciatica and some are similiar and others different for each patient.
2. Decompression - Spinal Decompression is a successful treatment proven highly effective and researched by Johns Hopkins, Stanford University and Mayo clinic among others to alleviate and treat the cause of the sciatica pain. It works by gently separating the spinal bones in the lower spine which allows the pressure to come off of the sciatic nerves thus allowing oxygen, water and nutrients back into the spinal disc and flushing out the inflammation within the area thus alleviating and treating the cause of the pain instead of only treating the symptoms.
3. Spinal stabilization - This is the most often overlooked component of most treatments for sciatica and one of the most important and critical for the pain to stay away and not return. This is taught by our clinic director and founder and is the foundation of what he uses for his sciatica as well to cure it and keep it away.
If you would like to see if you are a candidate for Dr. Boelk's program, call the office at 619-298-0800 for a consultation. Due to demand, regardless of referral from family doctor, orthopedic or neurosurgeon, patients will be taken on first come basis, thank you for understanding.