Sciatica also known as sciatic neuritis, is a relatively common cause of back pain. According to the NHS, over 40% of people will experience it. It tends to affect people aged between 30-50 and those who are overweight the most.
Sciatica is a nerve pain that is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back where it splits to go through the hips, buttocks legs and feet on either side of the body.
Sciatica pain can present itself in various forms but people with it may experience pain or discomfort in the lower back or the back and side of the legs.
Our renowned medical team provides a range of treatments, from the traditional to the innovative:
This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Depending on the root of the back pain, PRP can be injected into the discs (intradiscal), facet joints and paraspinal muscle. Patients usually see their symptoms improve within six weeks of having the injections. Read more clinical evidence supporting PRP here.
In a recent study, 91% of patients with chronic low back pain reported a significant reduction in pain, six months after PRGF treatment. This treatment involves applying plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF- Endoret) using intradiscal injections to repair tissue in the low back.
A pioneering new treatment using your body’s own stem cells from a combination of Lipogems® and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to treat pain and inflammation. It harnesses natural repair cells removed from your body fat to target problems affecting discs, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.
The procedure takes around an hour and early results suggest an improvement for 75% of suitable patients. The minimally invasive procedure is a possible alternative to having an operation or can be used after surgery to help healing.
Further information on AMPP® and its benefits can be found here.
Also called facet or nerve root blocks, they are recommended if you’ve not had much success with the first-step approaches of painkillers, rest, stretching and physiotherapy.
A common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc (also commonly known as a slipped disc) in the lower back.
The spine is made up of a number of bones or vertebrae. These are separated and cushioned by disc-shaped connective tissue. When a disc wears down, its soft centre can push out from the harder ring, this is known as a herniated disc.
A herniated disc puts pressure on surrounding nerves, and it can be very painful if it’s pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Other causes of sciatica or sciatic neuritis include:
• Irritation of the nerve caused by surrounding bone
• Spinal stenosis – the narrowing of the spine where nerves pass through
• Spondylolisthesis – when one of the bones in the back slips out of place
• Internal bleeding
• Infection in or around the lower back
• Being overweight or pregnant – as this put extra pressure on the spine
People who have jobs which involve heavy lifting or long periods of sitting are also prone to suffer from sciatica.
With sciatica your lower back, bottom, legs and feet may feel:
• A stabbing, shooting or burning pain
• A tingling sensation, like pins and needles
Sciatica is often associated with lower back pain but people who have it may not get lower back pain.
If left untreated sciatica can make walking difficult and overtime it could cause degenerative arthritis of the lower back.
If you are experiencing low back pain or pain in your hips, buttocks, legs and feet, a doctor will examine you applying pressure to different areas to see where it hurts. In some cases, the doctor may refer you to have an:
• Spinal X-ray – to see if there any other bone problems which could be causing the pain
• MRI – using a magnetic field and radio waves a detailed image of the affected is created which can reveal subtle changes
• CT scans – which uses radiation to create detailed images of the body
• Nerve tests – to see how your nerve impulses are being conducted by your sciatic nerve to determine if there any abnormalities
Treatment for sciatica aims to relieve symptoms and improve the function of the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Initial treatment may include medications such as analgesics which help reduce the pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDS – which reduce the pain and inflammation and steroid injections which reduce inflammation and provide short-term relief.
Your doctor may recommend applying ice packs to the area for a few days and then switching to heat packs for another couple of days. If you do this, it’s important to place a cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent you getting an ice-burn.
Sitting and resting can make sciatica worse, so it’s important to keep as active as possible. Your doctor may show you some gentle stretches you can do.
It may be recommended that you loose weight as this will relieve pressure placed on your spine.
Our expert team specialises in treating sciatica using advanced non-surgical techniques including stem cell therapy, AMPP® Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (using Lipogems® technology) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.
Sciatica symptoms normally lessen after four – six weeks. If they persist for more than three months, your doctor may discuss surgery with you.
Surgical options include discectomy, where part of the disc that is pressing on the sciatic nerve is removed. Or, microdiscectomy, which involves removing the disc through a small cut using a microscope.
Our experienced consultants will undertake a thorough examination exploring non-surgical and surgical treatments. They’ll also discuss your suitability for our state-of-the-art biological therapies.
Your consultation will be with one of our spine specialists, Mr. Shahid Khan, Prof. Arun Ranganathan or Dr. Stefano Palmisini and will last approximately 30 minutes. On the day, or the day before you will be asked to attend for an MRI scan.
As well as undertaking an examination, our specialists will take details of your medical history and discuss your symptoms. They will also detail all your treatment options and cover their potential benefits and risks.
Our expert team comprises of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care and the correct treatment option so you can quickly get back to moving around.
The first step is to book a consultation for a thorough assessment. Click here to make an appointment.
Autologous translates as ‘from the same person.’ In brief, it involves using your own cells to encourage healing. The major benefits are that there is no chance of rejection, infection or contamination as you are using cells from your own body rather than a donor.
We offer a range of therapies based on this principle which can be considered if traditional treatments including surgery aren’t relieving your pain.
Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires.
The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised.
Intradiscal and intra-articular facet infiltrations with ‘Endoret’ plasma rich in growth factors reduce pain in patients with chronic low back pain. Read full paper.