What is Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica is a sharp shooting pain that occurs due to the damage or compression of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar area. The pain radiates along the nerve’s route; from the lower back to the hip and outer leg and finally to the knee joint.
Except for some rare cases, it usually affects only one side of the body. Sciatic pain usually resolves within weeks without the need for surgical treatment. However, in more severe instances like a herniated disk, sciatica pain can extend up to the foot, cause bladder and bowel issues, and might need serious treatment.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica:
The following are some of the most prevalent sciatica symptoms:
– Pain: The compression causes severe pain in the affected leg, especially in the calf region. it could be constant or irregular depending on the severity of the damage.
– Altered sensation: Patients often report feeling numbness or pinpricking sensation along the channel of the sciatica nerve in the affected leg.
– Fragility: The pain felt throughout the leg can leave the affected foot and leg feeling weak.
Different Types of Sciatica:
Sciatic pain is fairly common around the globe, it affects around 10-40 % of the population. It can be classified based on symptom duration.
- Acute sciatica:
When the symptoms have not been older than 4-8 weeks, the pain is categorized as acute sciatica. This type of sciatic nerve pain can be easily managed at home with over-the-counter medicines and exercise.
- Chronic sciatica:
If sciatic pain continues after 8 weeks it is called chronic sciatica. This kind of pain does not subside with self-management. Proper physiotherapy sessions are required, surgical treatment could also be needed for severe cases.
- Alternating Sciatica:
Sciatica that affects both legs alternately is known as alternating sciatica. This form of sciatica is unusual and can be caused by sacroiliac joint degeneration.
- Bilateral Sciatic
Bilateral sciatica is one of those rare cases that affect both legs at the same time. Two different reasons can cause bilateral sciatica.
– Degenerative changes in the vertebrae or disc at multiple spinal levels.
– Serious disorders like cauda equina syndrome.
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain:
There can be different causes for sciatica pain. Following are some of them. Sometimes the limbs go numb due to prolonged sitting.
Herniated or slipped disks are the chief contributors of sciatic pain. Slipped discs are very common, around 4 % 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 of bone overgrowth generates pressure on the lumbar nerve root or the sciatic nerve itself.
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
Risk Factors of Sciatic Nerve Pain:
Other factors that increase the risk of sciatica
Hormonal changes in pregnancy cause ligament 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.
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
A strenuous job can increase the risks of sciatica. Where physical strength is always required.
Excessive weight gain causes stress over the lumbar area which decreases the space between the lumbar vertebrae. The lack of space in the lumbar vertebrae inspires irritation in the nerve.
Sitting for a long time has many negative impacts, especially on the lower back. A sedentary lifestyle is riskier.
Not following proper postural instructions while doing weight exercises in the gym can damage the nerves.
Diseases related to weight-bearing joints, can put stern on the spine and sciatic nerve.
Nicotine can damage spinal tissues and weaken the bones.
Effects of Sciatic Nerve Pain
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 (in this case, the lower back), it tempers with the natural alignment of the body causing Neck pains, Headaches, exhaustion, and severe cases of 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. Flip flops, for example, can be very hard to carry.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Beneficial for Sciatic Pain?
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.
Stem Cell Sources:
Cell-based therapy treats various diseases by injecting cellular material into the patient’s body. This cellular material can be obtained from different sources but the most promising in the case of MND are Umbilical cord stem cells and amniotic fluid stem cells.
Unlike cells extracted from bone marrow or fat tissues, umbilical cord and amniotic stem cells are younger and unclaimed, this is why they do not need much manipulation before administering them to the patient.
Stem Cells as a Treatment for Sciatic Pain
Both nerve and bone cells are compromised when it comes to sciatica pain. In the modern medical industry, stem cell therapy is a revolutionary all-rounder of treatments. Known for their unique characteristics that can help treat over 70 different diseases, physicians recommend stem cell therapy for sciatica patients.
1. Multilineage Differentiation: Stem cells can mature into specialized classes of cells.
Stem cells are good at detecting damage and inflammation. When administered to a patient they naturally travel to the site of distress. Stem cells then evolve into the different types of specialized cells that are required in the patient’s body to repair the damage.
Depending on the origin of the patient’s sciatica pain, stem cells can differentiate into bone cells, nerve cells, muscles, or beta-cells. By reducing inflammation, they help to relieve muscle and joint weakness. This improves posture, allowing for healthy and balanced leg muscle function, as well as the elimination of spasms, twitching, cramping, and loss of balance.
2. Self-renewal: Stem Cells are capable of replicating themselves. In the right environment, a small amount of harvested cells can multiply to great numbers.
Umbilical cord stem cells are known for rapidly growing into new daughter cells that can travel to damaged areas and more effectively treat them.
For a sciatic patient, this feature is especially effective, the stress on the sciatic nerve damages the neurons. Rapid renewal and differentiation of stem cells into neurons can improve irritation and sensation in the legs. In many cases, the stem cells can generate non-neuronal support cells, which helps the injured nerve fiber to regenerate.
3. Immunomodulation: Stem cells resist the immune system’s unfavorable responses and adapt to changes in the immune system.
This feature benefits the body’s overall environment by increasing cell-to-cell communication, conserving existing neurons, and producing new ones. Merging with the immune system encourages a non-tumorigenic response, in which stem cells control adaptive immune cells to inhibit tumor formation.
Stem cell therapy is the only effective non-surgical treatment that not only targets symptoms but also the causes behind the issue. In the case of Sciatic nerve pain, stem cell therapy can help reduce muscle weakness, inflammation, joint pain. It also maintains a healthy level of blood sugar, regenerates tissues around the sciatic nerve, and improves bladder functioning.
Along with the prevention of pain, stem cell therapy can reduce your dependency on oral medication and in many cases eliminate the need for surgery. In the case of Sciatic pain, stem cell therapy can help reduce muscle weakness, joint pain and maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.
Regenerative medicine is a treatment that assists the body in self-restoration. Stem cell therapy is the introduction of the body’s basic cellular material to boost the body’s ability to repair itself. As a healthy treatment, it promotes a healthy regime in patients
Physicians often recommend coupling stem cell treatment with rehabilitation routines like physical therapy and proper nutrition. It is important to inaugurate healthy habits along with the treatment for robust results.
To quickly regain postural alignment and muscular mobility, proper physiotherapy treatments are required. To balance and sustain the effects of stem cell therapy, careful nutrition programs are also recommended. Although it seems mild, sciatic nerve pain is not something to be ignored, especially if it lingers on for more than a week. If you have recently gone through physical trauma or are a patient of any chronic illness contact your doctor immediately.
Early treatment of sciatic pain can save you the risk of expensive and dangerous treatments. Discuss the possibility of safer options like stem cell therapy with your physician. Umbilical Cord and Amniotic Stem cells are regulated by FDA and are not concerned with any ethical challenges.