SCIATICA PAIN: CAUSES, EFFECTS, AND STEM CELL THERAPY AS POTENTIAL TREATMENT

What is Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica is a sharp shooting pain that occurs due to damage or compression of the sciatic nerve at the lower back. It radiates from the lower back, hip, outer side of the leg to the knee joint. It occurs due to an underlying disease or problem such as disc degeneration.

Generally, it affects only one side of the body. Sciatic pain is often more severe in the legs and extends up to the foot. This kind of pain is very common globally; it affects around 10-40 percent of the population. 

sciatica pain

There can be different types of sciatica: 

  • Acute Sciatica
  • Chronic Sciatica 
  • Alternating Sciatica 
  • Bilateral Sciatica 

Sciatica Symptoms: 

Patients who suffer from sciatic pain commonly describe it as a sensation of tingling, burning, or pinpricking. Sometimes the limbs go numb due to prolonged sitting. The range of the pain can vary from mild to severe. Sciatic pain often leads to muscle weakness in the affected limb due to compromised nerve supply. 

Causes of Sciatica: 

There can be different causes for sciatica pain. Following are some of them.

Disk Issues: 

Herniated or slipped disks are the chief contributors of sciatic pain. Slipped discs are very common, around 4 percent of people face issues related to a slipped disc, globally. Factors like bad posture, accidents, strenuous activity, sports injuries, and repetitive physical stress can lead to disk bulging or slipping. Slipped disc increases pressure on a nerve root resulting in sciatic pain. 

Space Occupying Lesion: 

Narrowing of the spinal canal due to clots, tumors or bone overgrowth generates pressure on the lumbar nerve root or the sciatic nerve itself.

Chronic Diseases:

Diabetes is one of the reasons why people suffer from sciatic nerve pain. Over time constant high blood glucose levels can damage the nerve fibers throughout the body causing neuropathy. 

Injury or Trauma:

Accidents are one of the leading causes of sciatic pain. Lower back injuries and traumas are always dangerous. They cause degeneration of discs which in turn causes nerve damage. Injuries impact muscle strength as well.

Weakness in Core Muscles: 

Lack of any bony structure like ribs to support abdominal muscle is one of the reasons why it is important to maintain a certain level of core strength. When the core muscles are weak, they end up putting stress on the lower backbone. Excessive weight can induce stress over the vertebral disc which ultimately causes sciatic nerve compression 

Other factors that increase the risk of sciatica 

Pregnancy: 

Hormonal changes in pregnancy cause ligamentous laxity that hold vertebrae, the loosening of the ligament might contribute to bugling or slipping of disk

Postural issues:

most of the postural issues are related to habits. In men, habits like carrying a wallet in the back pocket and bike riding can lead to sciatic pain. 

Aging: 

muscle compression or shortening with age can cause sciatica. Age-related changes in the spine due to weakness of bones and muscle shortening with age can cause

Occupation:

a strenuous job can increase the risks of sciatica. Where physical strength is always required. 

Obesity:

excessive weight gain causes stress over the lumbar area which decreases the space between the lumbar vertebrae. The lack of space in lumbar vertebrae inspires irritation in the nerve. 

Inactivity:

sitting for a long time has many negative impacts especially on the lower back. A sedentary lifestyle is riskier 

Gym:

Not following proper postural instructions while doing weight exercises in the gym can damage the nerves. 

Osteoarthritis:

diseases related to weight-bearing joints, can put stern on spine and sciatic nerve.

Sciatica Effects: 

Sciatica pain can affect a patient’s daily life. It limits mobility and causes the following issues:

Losing balance:

Numbness in the nerve decreased proprioception, which is the ability of muscles to detect movement, action, and location. Proprioception is what allows us to follow a certain direction and coordinate in balance.

Postural Distortion:

When the body avoids applying pressure to the injured area, it tempers with the natural alignment of the body causing Neck pains, Headaches, exhaustion, and in severe cases hump between the shoulders. This postural distortion is also called “overprotective posture.” Other possible side effects of postural misalignment can target digestion, respiration as well.

Weakness in other joints like hips, knees, and ankles is one of the common side effects of Sciatic pain.

Reflex decline:

When the nerve is compromised it reduces our reflexes to a certain degree. For example, the knee-jerk and ability to flex the foot upward is withdrawn. 

Loss of bowel or bladder function:

A patient’s capacity to retain or release urine or fecal matter may be compromised. 

Difficulty with Particular Footwear:

Sciatic discomfort can influence the flexibility of the big toe and make it difficult to lift the heel off the ground.

Sciatica Treatments: 

Sciatic pain can be treated in various ways:

  • Oral Medication: anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants used for treating mild sciatic pain  
  • Physiotherapy is one of the major choices for treatment. The patient has to be regular with their therapy sessions.
  • Steroid Injections; in some cases, doctors do recommend steroids to better cope with the pain but these injections can prove harmful in the long run. 
  • Surgery; in the severe case where the patient starts losing their muscle strength along with their bladder and bowel control surgery of the lumbar vertebrae is opted for. 

Regenerative Medicine: 

The painkiller dosage for sciatica starts from at least 1000mg and these can easily be harmful in the long run. Since sciatica is a neurological disorder, treating it with traditional medications can prove ineffective in some cases. The sciatic pain progresses with time. As regenerative medicine Stem Cell therapy can help improve the body’s natural ability to repair and regenerate non-surgically. It can also prevent the progression of sciatic pain. When treating nerve pain umbilical cord stem cells can prove very helpful. These cells can renew themselves and can be differentiated into neurons. In many cases, the stem cells are able to generate non-neuronal support cells, which helps the injured nerve fiber to regenerate.

Stem Cells as a Treatment for Sciatic Pain: 

If used for sciatic pain, Stem cells can trigger natural regenerative abilities to treat the sciatic nerve and strengthen the nearby tissues and muscles. Along with the prevention of pain, stem cell therapy can reduce your dependency on oral medication and in many cases completely eliminate the need for surgery. Not only does stem cell therapy target the problem but also helps in treating the reasons behind the problem. Stem Cell Therapy for Sciatica can help reduce muscle weakness, joint pain and maintain a healthy level of blood sugar. 

Post-Procedure Management:

As treating nerve issues with stem cell therapy is relatively new the medical specialists often recommend a proper process of managing the patient’s lifestyle afterward. Proper physiotherapy sessions are recommended to regain postural alignment and physical mobility smoothly. Careful diet plans are also prescribed to balance and prolong the effects of stem cell therapy. Whichever choice of treatment you opt for, it is always important for people suffering from sciatic pain to consult a doctor for professional guidance. If deciding on stem cell treatment contact your health professional and choose Stem Cell Hospital for your procedure. 

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