I am not going to go into the specifics of how I treat sciatica and disc injuries, which is difficult as each case can be extremely different from one to another, however; if you would like an overview of my approach & why I combine chiropractic with myotherapy (SLM) please have a read of my homepage or the services I offer.
In this article I am going to explain some surprising facts which I’m sure many of you suffering back pain & sciatica may not be aware of. I think it is important as a sufferer to get as much useful information as possible which can be quite difficult as there are so many different treatment options, opinions & ‘experts’ on the area & it can be difficult to know what is useful or useless information. I am sure some of the information will be food for thought especially for those of you who have been told you will need surgery or it is all in your head.
The first thing is that research has shown roughly 35%-65% of disc herniation’s will resolve spontaneously by themselves within 6-12 months & even on the subjects where there disc herniation did not resolve it did not seem to impact them negatively when compared to those who’s disc’s did resolve. The research did not specify the effect’s this had on the symptoms, as in my experience even when sciatica symptoms resolves on its own over time, many still sort treatment out for residual chronic back pain, discomfort and immobility, without experiencing sciatica itself. I believe this has more to do with chronic myofascial trigger points (muscle & fascia) guarding the area as a delayed over-protective mechanism & instability rather than the disc itself. Although many of these clients reported to me that back pain & immobility superseded the sciatica, I guess its a chicken or the egg type situation.
Another surprising fact; in one study 28% of patients that showed a disc herniation on MRI did not actually have a herniation when they performed surgery on them. Conversely 33% of patients with a negative MRI actually had a herniation. There are some very important points which this highlights, surgery should always be the very last option, MRI’s aren’t extremely useful when diagnosing disc herniation’s, if your MRI show’s you do have a herniation research has shown there is close to a 30% chance you in fact do not have one. On the other hand, if your scans say you do not have a herniation in spite of demonstrating the clinical signs i.e pins & needles, weakness, numbness etc.. this doesn’t mean you don’t have one and if you have been told ‘its all in your head’ it is worth keeping these facts in mind.
On a side note, if you experience back & leg pain/numbness with rapid onset of bowel or bladder symptoms or difficulty urinating although rare is a medical emergency and you need to be assessed by a medical physician immediately.