Sciatica Treatment – Singapore Specialist Pain International Clinic
The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and runs down the buttocks, through the leg, and down to the toes. In fact, it is the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve connects the legs and feet to the spinal cord, providing sensation, muscle strength, and movement.
Sciatica pain occurs when the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots that form it are compressed, causing it to become irritated and inflamed. Sciatica pain treatment is a type of nerve damage treatment in Singapore that aims to relieve compression of the sciatic nerve to eliminate or reduce sciatic pain.
What is Nerve Pain or Nerve Damage? And does that result in Neuropathic pain?
Nerve pain or Neuropathic pain is usually referred to as a painful stabbing or stinging sensation. It can at times resolve on its own but is often chronic. Sometimes it is constant and severe, and often it comes and goes. It is often caused by damage to the nerves or a malfunctioning of the nervous system.
An instance of neuropathic pain is the phantom limb syndrome. This uncommon syndrome happens when a limb has undergone amputation due to disease or wounds, however the brain still receives pain signals via the nerves that initially sent impulses from the lost arm or leg.
Causes of Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain can sometimes have no obvious cause. But these are some common conditions that can possibly lead to neuropathic pain:
- Facial nerve problems
- HIV infection
- Multiple myeloma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve or spinal cord compression from herniated discs or from arthritis in the spine
- Spine surgery
- Thyroid problems
Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain symptoms may include:
- Stabbing and stinging pain
- Tingling and numbness
Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain
In order to determine that you have neuropathic pain, your Pain Specialist will firstly ask you several questions and perform a physical examination. He may question you about the nature of your pain, when do you feel it, or whether something in particular sets off the pain. The doctor will also request you to share about your risk factors for neuropathic pain and may ask for blood, nerve and imaging tests.
Neuropathic Pain Treatment
For the most part, anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs serve as the first wave of treatment. Some neuropathic pain studies point to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which may relieve pain. In other cases, individuals may need a more powerful painkiller.
Should another condition, such as diabetes, be involved, managing that problem more effectively may ease the pain. Successful treatment of the condition can also contribute to halting any more nerve damage.
For circumstances that are harder to treat, a pain specialist may opt for an invasive or implantable tool to better relieve the pain. Using electricity to stimulate the affected nerves in neuropathic pain may manage the pain symptoms to a great extent.
Alternative types of treatments can also reduce neuropathic pain. They are:
- Physical therapy
- Counselling sessions
- Relaxation therapy
- Massage therapy
Normal pain treatments unfortunately do not work well for neuropathic pain and sometimes may even exacerbate the problem rather than improve it in the long run. For certain individuals, it can cause severe disability. A multifaceted strategy that integrates different therapies, on the other hand, may be a powerful method to ease neuropathic pain.
When To See A Doctor For Sciatica Pain or Nerve Pain Treatments?
Sciatica pain can sometimes be hard to identify. This is because the symptoms overlap with symptoms of other conditions, and because sciatica can cause pain anywhere along the length of the sciatic nerve. Most commonly, patients have pain that seems to radiate from the lower back to the buttocks, and sometimes down the leg. Typically, the sensation only occurs on one side, and you may also experience tingling or numbness in the leg.
Make an appointment with a pain specialist for Sciatica Pain Treatment if:
- Self-care measures like rest and over-the-counter medications don
- The sciatica pain is severe or getting worse
- The pain is sudden and/or causes numbness and weakness in your leg
- Your pain is the result of a traumatic injury
- You have difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements
These severe symptoms could be signs of nerve damage that require immediate attention.
What To Expect During Your Sciatica Pain Treatment Appointment?
During your appointment with a pain specialist at Specialist Pain International Clinic, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and your level of pain. He or she will also review your medical history and may order imaging tests. These will help to diagnose the exact cause of your sciatica pain and to rule out other conditions. An accurate diagnosis will allow your doctor to propose a tailored sciatica pain treatment plan based on your level of pain, the cause of your pain, and your overall health and health history.
For Sciatica Pain Treatment, Singapore Physicians at Specialist Pain International Clinic Start With Conservative Measures
Conservative Sciatica Pain Treatment
When you seek help for sciatica pain, our pain physicians almost always start with conservative, non-surgical nerve damage treatments. We only turn to procedural or surgical interventions if these measures do not bring sufficient relief. These conservative measures may include:
Limited rest — Resting for one to two days after your nerve damage treatment in Singapore can help relieve sciatica pain. It’s important to be aware that a longer period of inactivity can actually make your sciatica pain worse.
Medications — Medications are prescribed to help reduce inflammation surrounding the sciatic nerve and relieve pain. Medications prescribed for the treatment of sciatica pain may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen, for pain
- Muscle relaxants to help relax triggered muscles
- Oral steroids to reduce inflammation surrounding the sciatic nerve
Physical therapy — Once you start to feel some pain relief, a structured program with a licensed physical therapist can help prevent your sciatica pain from worsening or from recurring. A sciatica pain treatment physical therapy program typically includes stretching and specific exercises to help relieve compression on the sciatic nerve.
Steroid injections — If the sciatica pain does not subside with medications or physical therapy, our pain physician may recommend nerve damage treatments such as a steroid injection. This sciatica pain treatment is given right in the area of the sciatic nerve to help relieve inflammation and pain.
Targeted Disc Decompression — In certain instances of nerve damage, sciatica is caused by a prolapsed or bulging disc. A procedure utilising specialised radiofrequency needles are inserted to the prolapsed disc to shrink the prolapsed part relieving the compression on the sciatic nerve. However, only a small proportion of patients are suitable for such nerve damage treatments in Singapore.
Surgical Sciatica Pain Treatment
If you don’t notice improvement after about six weeks of conservative sciatica pain treatment, your doctor may present you with the option of surgery. Surgical intervention is reserved for severe cases of sciatica pain, like when pain is persistent or gets worse or in cases of nerve damage. Depending on your specific condition, your pain specialist may recommend one of these procedures:
Microdiscectomy or Endoscopic Discectomy — If a herniated disc in the spine is causing your sciatica pain, a microdiscectomy or endoscopic targeted discectomy removes the portion of the herniated disc that is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Laminectomy — Sometimes, pressure can develop on the sciatic nerve when inflammation causes it to be compressed by the lamina, a bony part of the vertebra that protects the spinal cord. Laminectomy is a type of sciatica pain treatment procedure that removes the portion of the lamina that is pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Recovering From Sciatica Pain
The time it takes to recover from your sciatica pain treatment depends on the severity and the cause of your pain, as well as the sciatica pain treatment approach. Typically, pain subsides with up to six weeks of conservative treatment. If you have surgery for sciatica pain, it’s important to follow all instructions given to you by your care team to ensure a safe and proper recovery. To prevent sciatica pain from recurring, stick to a regular exercise program that strengthens the back muscles, use your legs when lifting objects, and focus on maintaining good posture.
Unfortunately, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to standard nerve damage treatments and occasionally may get worse instead of better over time. For some people, it can lead to serious disability. A multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, however, can be a very effective way to provide relief from neuropathic pain.