Degenerative Disc Disease & Sciatica - Effective Treatments

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How is radiculopathy treated?

The treatment of degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and sciatica ranges from nonsurgical (medical) management to surgery. Medical management of radiculopathy includes patient education of the condition, medications to relieve pain and muscles spasm, cortisone injection around the spinal cord (epidural injection), physical therapy (heat, exercises, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation), chiropractic manipulation and rest (not strict bed rest, but avoiding reinjury). With unrelenting pain, severe impairment of function, or incontinence (which can indicate spinal cord irritation), surgery may be necessary. The operation performed depends on the overall status of the spine and the age and health of the patient. Procedures include removal of the herniated disc with laminotomy (producing a small hole in the bone of the spine surrounding the spinal cord), laminectomy (removal of the bony wall adjacent to the nerve tissues), by needle technique through the skin (percutaneous discectomy), disc-dissolving procedures (chemonucleolysis), and others.

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Comment from: Miss bee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I have been living with degenerative disc disease (DDD) pain for 15 years. Only in the last year have I been diagnosed. I spent many years seeking treatment, physical therapy and pain relief, nothing has helped very much. I can no longer work because I cannot stand or sit for long periods and bending worsens my pain. I just try and manage the condition with heat, ice packs, stretching and accepting my limitations. It has been very difficult, but I rarely take medication anymore.

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Comment from: Ladywriter1968, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

When I was in my early 30s my back went, was in agony for months on end. I was told I have degenerative disc disease of the spine, being 2nd disk from bottom, and nerve pinched causing sciatica pain down my leg, pins and needs in my foot. My foot would throb along with extreme back pain, my dad suffered the same thing before I did. I found swimming and exercise helped my pain, and walking, yoga as well, and weight loss back then. Since then I have had twinges now and then, but recently, which is like 15 years later, my back pain has returned very quickly with the same pain as years before but on my opposite side now. I have gained the weight back over the years and it's harder to lose now. Carrying extra weight around does not help and puts strain on the lower spine, by losing weight is not that easy either and keeping it off. It's worse when I am in bed early morning the pain. For me when I walk it eases off. Life sure is cruel, isn't it, for us suffering. I try to live a normal life as I don't want to let it beat me. But it does take willpower, and I am not on any pain killers as the ones I had before upset my tummy.

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