Sciatica Makes Coping with Lower Back Pain Even Tougher
If you suffer from the dreaded “s” word—sciatica—you’re not alone. WebMD estimates that one in 10 people who suffer from lower back pain, must also cope with sciatica—the excruciating burning, tingling or shooting pain that radiates from the lower back down through the buttocks to the legs and feet. The culprit is usually a bulging disc or herniated disc that presses against the nerve roots at the base of the sciatic nerve, but bone spurs and spinal stenosis can also aggravate the condition. Not only is sciatica extremely painful, it can be completely debilitating.
With a bulging disc, bone spurs and spinal stenosis, 52-year-old Jean L. couldn’t escape her sciatica. “My life was consumed with pain 24 hours a day,” Jean says. “I was on pain pills and having injections in my back for the sciatic pain, which didn’t even phase my pain.”
Saddled with burning sciatica for 12 years aggravated by bulging and herniated discs, 58-year-old James A. was miserable. “I couldn’t stand up straight and I frequently had terrible leg cramps.” Like James, 59-year-old Richard F. had difficulty functioning as a teacher. “I was in constant pain from a pinched sciatic nerve,” he says. “I couldn’t stand or walk very far. My leg dragged, I stumbled and my body was bent over.”
Thirty-six-year-old Cutis C. led a very active life until a bulging disc put him out of commission. “I tired all the treatments that the doctors recommended from conventional to alternative,” he says. “I suffered through the pain for the first few months, but as it got progressively worse, I was in constant pain. No position was comfortable. The sciatic pain from my hip down to my ankles was constant, but I also had frequent sharp, shooting pains down my leg and ankle that were unbearable. I was unable to work, drive, sleep in my own bed or basically leave the couch without excruciating pain. When I started losing sensation in my leg, I knew I needed to find a solution fast.”
Curtis opted for a cutting edge new treatment—the minimally invasive IntelliSpine procedure—developed by the world-class physicians who partner with us at North American Spine. Unlike conventional open back surgery, the IntelliSpine procedure doesn’t involve cutting through healthy muscle and tissue. Instead, physicians access the spinal canal through a very small incision (just three millimeters) into the sacral hiatus—a natural opening at the base of the spine. A thin tube equipped with a high-definition camera and laser is then inserted into the opening so the physician can visually identify the sources of pain and immediately treat them in one procedure.
“We believe it is the best way to treat low back pain because it is the least invasive way to access the problem—whether it’s a bulging or herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or arthritis—and treat it on the spot with the laser,” say Dr. Kelly Will. “The recovery time is less, the patients are up and around a lot quicker, they don’t have the scar tissue and all the things you have with conventional open back surgery.”
“As soon as I woke up in the recovery room, the sciatic pain was gone,” Cutis C. remembers. “Since the surgery, I haven’t felt any of the same sciatic pain that had become a part of my life. The recovery time was remarkably short. One of my great passions in life is surfing. Thanks to this revolutionary procedure, I went surfing again for the first time since my injury. I’m happy to report that there was no pain. Now I can play with my five-year-old son again without telling him that I can’t because it hurts. That means everything in the world to me. It’s great being able to participate in my own life again.”
Life sans the sciatic pain is great for Jean L., too. “My life is back to normal. I can now go shopping, clean house, work on whatever with no debilitating pain,” she says.
James A. says the IntelliSpine procedure was a life-changing event for him. “I have been released from my prison of pain. I am now 99% pain free and I stand up straight as an arrow every day now. No more sciatica, no more leg cramps, no more nagging lower back pain!”
And Richard F. is no longer dragging his leg and stumbling through his day. “The IntelliSpine was the easiest, most comfortable procedure I’ve ever experienced,” he says. “I don’t have pain anywhere. No nerve damage or burning. I am 10 times more active with exercise and enjoyment. I feel like a 15-year-old running around the neighborhood at warp speed. I’m very happy.”
To learn what other patients have to say about the remarkable IntelliSpine procedure, visit our spine patient testimonials.