Alright, so I get a lot of questions, I'm trying to answer every question, and actually today I got two questions. The question is, what makes our sciatica treatment better. And were going to talk about this, it shouldn't take too long but there are some points that you really have to understand so I'm going to try and get to those points. So, why do we do these things? As some of you know I had a serious back problem, it really caused a lot of damage to my lowest lumbar disc. My L5 disc was severely degenerated, with a herniated disc that caused me a great deal of sciatica.
I Found A Way Out
and the way I found, is the treatment we give our patients. So, we did a study, and the study compared our treatment to other treatments for sciatica. It wasn't just a little bit better it was dramatically better. And this is not about the study, were going to do another video about the study, there’s another video somewhere on our timeline but I'm going to do another one probably either tomorrow or this week. To really understand why ours is different and our better, you need to understand what happens to the spine. So, a typical spine looks like this. There are 24 vertebrae between the head and the hips. The vertebrae are the bones. in-between each bone there is a disc, the disc allows for motion.
Each vertebra is designed to move in 6 directions
Forwards, back, side to side and rotate. All that motion takes place on top of the disc. Now, in-between each vertebra, there is an opening where the nerves exit off of the spinal cord. So, the brain is up on top, the spinal cord runs down inside of the spine. And then again, in-between each vertebra, there is an opening called the ferryman, which is where the nerves exit directly off of the spinal cord. So, the spine is designed to protect the spinal cord. The nerves in the neck go into the arms. So, if you've ever had a pinched nerve in your neck, very often you'll have pain in your neck, sometimes you'll have pain in your arms, sometimes you'll have pain that goes down all the way into your hand. And the nerves in your lower back are the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve. So, the nerves in the lower back exit out in-between the ferryman, and if you have a pinched nerve in your back, you'll have pain in the back, it may run down your leg and it also may run all the way down into your foot. Again, this is the sciatic nerve that were talking about today, and the sciatic nerve exits down out of 3 ferrymen out of the lowest part of your spine and they form one very large nerve. Now the key to sciatica is what’s pinching the nerve. As that nerve exits through that ferryman, what is it that’s pinching it? It’s the disc. 95% of the time it is the disc. Now when you understand the disc, you'll understand what makes our treatment different and better.
The disc is a lot like a jelly donut
in the sense that on the outside of the disc there is a thick material, we call that thick material the annulus. Inside the disc, there is a jelly like substance called the nucleus. The nucleus gives stability to the disc in the same way air gives stability to a tire. What does that mean? It means that when the nucleus has the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients, the nucleus is healthy. It gives stability to the outer wall the same way air gives stability to the outer wall of your tire. Now the nucleus is designed to distribute stresses evenly in all directions on the annulus. This is very important. So, when the angle of the load on the nucleus changes, very often it'll force all of the pressure into one portion on the annulus and the annulus starts to break down. And as it starts to break down what happens is the nucleus will push out, and as the angle of the load changes and the nucleus pushes out you'll develop sometimes a little tear in the annulus but that beginning phase as the nucleus starts to push out is what we call a bulging disc. Now one of the more common reasons you have sciatica is the bulging disc, because the disc is going to bulge into the spinal canal. Into the space where the nerves exit. So, if the disc is pushing in that area, you're going to develop a little bit of pain in your back as well as the pain that goes down the leg. So as the nucleus starts to push out, the annulus pushes out further, you get a little bit of stress and you get that bulging disc where you start to get pinching of the nerve. Also, what happens is the annulus can tear even further and when the annulus tears further, the nucleus starts to migrate out, and you'll develop what is called a focal point which is a herniated disc. The disc will begin to push into the space where the nerve is. Probably the most common reason people have sciatica is the herniated disc. So, the disc has pushed back into the space and pinched that nerve and that nerve then causes the pain that goes down the leg. Sometimes the disc will tear all the way through, and then the nucleus will migrate to the outside and that’s called an extrusion. Tends to be a little bit more severe, but it’s another form of a herniated disc.
You can physically see on an MRI where the nucleus is pushing out
So, what do we know? We know that the nerves exit out of the lowest part of the back, and they form the sciatic nerve. They exit through what’s called the Ferryman, and when that nerve gets pinched very often it’s the bulging disc or the herniated disc. Also, what happens is the disc can start to break down. And as it breaks down, the nucleus can start to dry out. The nucleus is designed to have the proper flow of fluids so when it starts to get less flow the nucleus starts to dry out, and when the nucleus starts to dry out what happens is the vertebrae start to get closer together then the annulus starts to get smaller so you develop a degenerated disc, the disc is degenerating as the vertebrae get closer together, they start to pinch that nerve. Also, what happens over time, is that space as it gets smaller, you'll start to develop what’s called stenosis, so the disc degenerates and then the bone stars to degenerate.
So, what do we know?
We know that the degenerated disc brings the vertebrae closer together and start to compromise the nerve as it comes out. Then the disc will push into the Canal causing a pinching of the nerve. Sometimes what happens is patients get sciatica in both of their legs. Very often that’s due to a herniation in both sides of the disc where the herniation is pushed into the spinal canal, pinching the spinal nerves. Okay it looks like this, we had a picture of this not too long ago, patient had a herniated disc causing sciatica in both of their legs. Some of the treatments that people try with this are anti-inflammatory, now with anti-inflammatory, the goal is to decrease the inflammation within the space. This doesn’t always work. Why? Because it’s a disc problem. Sometimes you're targeting the process with anti-inflammatory, but it doesn’t solve the disc problem. Same thing with physical therapy. Physical therapy is very good for working the muscles, but it doesn’t do anything for the disc. When you have sciatica, you have a disc problem. So, when you don't heal the disc, the problem will come back. Same thing with injections. The injections will decrease the inflammatory process, but it doesn't solve the problem in the disc. 30% of all sciatica will not go away. 10% of all victims of sciatica end up getting surgery.
How OUR Treatment Can Save You From Surgery
This is because the problem was in the disc. Very often, the goal of the surgery is to cut the disc out. This is called a discectomy, and it takes the pressure off the nerve. Or they'll cut out a part pf the bone. They'll cut out the whole back end of the bone which is called a lobectomy. The goal is to free up the nerve, but the problem is that it is not very effective at all. it’s not uncommon that you have one surgery and end up needed a second one. Probably the most advanced surgery and the most common for sciatica is the fusion. Not a good idea. So, what do we do? What makes our treatment better? We effect the disc. The key to sciatica is freeing up the space where the nerve is. That’s what we have the ability to do. We have the ability to free up the space where the nerve is. We have the ability to free up the nerve.
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
Also, if you would like to learn more about how we can eliminate your back, neck, and sciatica pain, you can join us for our Back Pain and Sciatica Relief Webinar! Just click on the link below for information on the Webinar and how to register for it:
All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.