Sciatic pain relief: Minimally invasive medical procedures

by Christina Abbott on July 21, 2010

When sciatica pain gets the better of you and nothing you do seems to help, here are some minimally invasive medical treatments you can try to get relief from my Checklist Part 2 on corrective actions and treatments.

Nerve blocks, radiofrequency treatments, facet blocks etc. can be performed in out-patient pain clinics and hospitals. Doctors with a Pain Management specialty are the ones performing these minimally invasive procedures.

Live x-ray technology (fluoroscopy) is often used to precisely target the area that is causing your pain. In most cases you can walk out of the office and resume your normal daily activities immediately.

Nerve injections of all types are performed to block the nerve signals causing pain. Most of the injections are on the spinal nerves. These medications serve to make the nerve numb to pain.

Radiofrequency treatments “burn” nerve endings to deaden them. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, preventing it from sending pain signals.The nerves will eventually regenerate and will need to be treated again.

Facet blocks target the nerves in the facet joints that restrict twisting motions in the spine. A facet block is an injection of local anesthetic and steroid into the facet joint. More than one block may be needed depending on how many joints are involved.

Other procedures include cortisone or steroid injections for inflammation. These chemicals are very powerful and effective, but since they also kill cells, they can only be used a few times in the same spot. The source of the inflammation needs to be identified and corrected to prevent multiple anti-inflammatory injections.

Before trying these, make sure you have addressed Trigger Points with Neuromuscular Therapy and researched all other factors that may be causing your pain. See my previous checklists for reasons and explanations.

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