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Sciatic Nerve Compression: Why Surgery May Not Work

Sciatic Nerve Compression: Why Surgery May Not Work

Also called sciatica, sciatic nerve compression is when the longest nerve in your body (the sciatic nerve) is compressed or squeezed between two structures—usually a vertebral bone and the spongy disc that ruptures out of its space.  Conventional treatments often revert to pain medications and surgery; however, there are some cases where surgery may not work, and may not even been needed. Instead, a non-invasive treatment may be the safer and more effective way to go. 

Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Compression

The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, spreads across, and then goes into each leg and into the feet.  Several things can cause a compressed sciatic nerve, including:

·         A herniated or bulging disc (most common)

·         Spinal stenosis

·         Spondylolisthesis

·         Trauma, car accident, or another personal injury

·         Piriformis syndrome

·         Tumors

The signs and symptoms of sciatic nerve compression are similar in most patients and include:

·         Nerve pain

·         Pain in the back (especially the lower back)

·         Pain that radiates down the leg and into the foot

·         Pain with sitting, reclining, bending, twisting, lying down, or coughing

·         One-sided symptoms (it’s uncommon to experience symptoms in both legs, for instance)

·         Numbness and tingling in the legs

What to Consider in Surgical & Nonsurgical Treatments for Sciatic Nerve Compression

Sciatica is a complex condition to treat because there’s an urgent need for relief from the pain and discomfort.  However, that mentality of “urgency” often leads to drastic treatment measures like invasive surgery and habit-forming medications. Thankfully, there are alternative, non-invasive measures that could effectively treat the symptoms and underlying cause. 

Multiple procedures could be performed on sciatica; however, you can often address the problem with non-surgical treatments like chiropractic care. While many patients have found significant relief after surgical treatment of severe sciatic nerve compression, not every case requires such drastic measures.

That’s not to say surgery isn’t necessary in some cases.  A few reasons to consider surgery would be:

1.      There’s a severe emergent medical need, such as an inability to walk, internal bleeding, or the need to remove a tumor.

2.      Severe disc herniation that cannot safely be treated by a chiropractor (this is rare).

3.      There are tears or fractures in the back or spine that a chiropractor cannot safely treat.

Good doctors will recommend at least 6-8 weeks of nonoperative treatments before considering surgical intervention for sciatic nerve compression that doesn’t fall into one of those three issues above.

How Chiropractors Treat Sciatic Nerve Compression

We can’t always treat sciatica in our Norwalk chiropractor clinic.  Sometimes, patients need to be referred or sent to a surgeon who can perform one of the main procedures for sciatic nerve compression.  AtSlovin Chiropractic Center, we see a lot of sciatica, and we have various methods of treating this painful condition.  Dr. Slovin always tailors the treatment to your specific needs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the nerve pain and pain in the back from sciatic nerve compression. Your body likely won’t respond the same way to a treatment that worked for your neighbor.  Chiropractic care is a safe, effective, alternative method to address sciatica’s painful and often debilitating symptoms.  You don’t have to live with it.  Start improving your quality of life today. 


Spine-Health: Why surgery for sciatica is not one size fits all

Spine-Health: What you need to know about sciatica

Spine Universe: Leading causes of sciatica and sciatic nerve pain

Failed Back Institute:  When surgery is the best solution for sciatica

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