A Serious Pain In The Leg
Back pain seems almost universal as of late. More than 80% of persons will experience some back pain. But if that pain starts traveling down the leg, the issue could be sciatica. There are different ways to treat the problem, including a microdiscectomy. However, persons should consider surgery only in certain circumstances.
Stay off that nerve
Never heard of sciatica before? Sciatica refers to nerve pain in the lower back that travels down the back of the leg. Damaged or compressed sciatic nerves cause pain. The sciatic nerve is a cluster of nerves that start in the lower vertebrae and sacrum. These nerves split into two and run down the back of each thigh, before branching off at the tibia. Sciatic nerves are responsible for pain and sensation in the upper leg. Sciatica causes sharp pains in the back, buttocks, and upper leg, making everyday movement difficult at times.
Interesting fact: The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body.
The many signs of sciatica
Sciatica can happen via spinal issues or non-spinal issues. Spinal problems include herniated discs, stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or abnormal growths. Non-spinal effects include pregnancy, accidents, or piriformis syndrome. A herniated disc, however, is the leading cause of sciatica. Herniated discs can press on sciatic nerve roots causing pain. Disc herniation happens due to a range of issues including poor posture and injury. Additional inflammation and swelling can compress the nerves even further. In this case, a doctor may consider microdiscectomy.
Just a little off the top
Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) that seeks to relieve sciatic pain. Surgeons use microdiscectomy to remove parts of a herniated disc pressing on the sciatic nerve. The surgeon will make a small incision near the herniated disc. Then using a laparoscope, the surgeon gets a high-definition view of the damage. From there, the surgeon inserts microscopic tools to cut away the herniated tissue. The procedure can take a few hours and the patient usually gets discharged in about 24 hours. Microdiscectomies have an 84% success rate. Removing the pressure allows the sciatic nerve to heal and reduces pain.
When to go under the knife
Surgery isn’t for everyone. Doctors will work on non-invasive methods first. These include exercise, physical therapy, and medication. In most cases, these techniques work to relieve pain and improve the quality of life. However, if persons still experience pain, then surgery is a useful option. If checks show a severely damaged disc, then doctors may opt to go straight to surgery. Surgery may also work best for someone with consecutive weeks of severe leg pain. Doctors and patients together can come up with the right decision based on all factors.
Sort out sciatica with a microdiscectomy
Sciatica diminishes the quality of life for men and women worldwide. While no one likes the idea of surgery, a microdiscectomy could make all the difference in relieving pain. The procedure takes off the pressure on the nerves and is minimally invasive. Remember, all surgical procedures pose some risk. Persons with sciatica or showing signs of the condition should speak with a healthcare provider immediately.