News on Sciatica
Bioengineers and surgeons at Duke University recently developed a new animal model to better understand sciatica and how to treat it.
It involved surgical simulation of nerve compression in rats, and as a result, the rats’ experienced an increase in a protein called interleukin-17 (IL-17). This particular protein is linked to the body’s inflammatory response, so the increased levels of IL-17 suggest that the immune system may affect sciatica.
Current Treatment Options
Although more research is warranted, the study at Duke University may provide more treatments for sciatica. For example, if a drug can block the immune response, the symptoms of sciatica may be eliminated. It will be interesting to see how this animal model will improve the treatment of sciatica.
Current treatment options for sciatica include physical therapy (especially for herniated disks), prescriptions drugs (e.g. muscle relaxers and pain relievers), epidural steroid injections and surgery. Depending on what caused your sciatica pain, it may disappear within four to eight weeks. However, sometimes aggressive treatments and drugs like the ones mentioned above are necessary.
Keeping updated on your treatment choices is important, but it’s imperative to seek a doctor’s advice. If not treated, sciatica can cause bladder and bowel incontinence, loss of physical strength and numbness in your legs or feet. Since many things can attribute to sciatica pain (e.g. trauma, herniated disc, spinal tumors, etc.), it’s best to have a thorough checkup.