15 Jan Sciatica Patients May Find Relief From Their Pain With Stem Cell Therapy
Sciatica is a painful condition affecting the lower back and can even radiate further down the legs. It can be caused by a pinched nerve from a slipped disc and may require surgery. If your sciatica pain is not responding to traditional treatments, stem cell therapy may help you find relief.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a pain in the lower body resulting from irritation or damage of the sciatic nerve. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh, and can even radiate down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. While sciatica is most commonly a result of a lumbar disc herniation pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can produce the same symptoms. This irritation of nerves as a result of an abnormal intervertebral disc is referred to as radiculopathy. Aside from a pinched nerve from a disc, other causes of sciatica include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections of the lumbar spine, injury, spinal stenosis, and other causes.
Sometimes sciatica can occur because of irritation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy. Risk factors for sciatica include degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine, lumbar disc disease, and herniated disc, and trauma or injury to the lumbar spine. Sciatica causes a burning, painful sensation, numbness, or tingling radiating from the lower back and upper buttock down the back of the thigh to the back of the leg. The result is lumbar pain, buttock pain, hip pain, and leg pain. Sometimes the sciatic pain radiates around the hip or buttock to feel like hip pain. While sciatica is often associated with lower back pain (lumbago), it can be present without low back pain. Severe sciatica can make walking extremely difficult.
Sometimes the symptoms of sciatica are aggravated by walking or bending at the waist and relieved by lying down. Treatment options for sciatica depend on its cause and should include physical therapy. TENS units are sometimes useful for more chronic forms of sciatica. A variety of low back conditioning and stretching exercises are used to help people recover from sciatica. Medications used in the treatment of sciatica include pain relievers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants. Antidepressants help by reducing pain perception in the brain. Cortisone medications, given orally or as an epidural injection, can also help relieve sciatica pain. Surgical procedures may be required for chronic sciatica that is caused by nerve compression at the lower spine.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Patients with their Sciatica Pain?
Injuries to the sciatic nerve can cause eventual deterioration of the nerve cells, leading to even more back pain. Stem cells are being considered as a treatment for sciatica. They have the potential to repair the damaged sciatic nerve that is causing the patient chronic pain. More studies need to be done before the FDA considers this treatment method safe.