SLIP DISC, SCIATICA AND TREATMENT
The inter-vertebral discs are protective cushion-like shock-absorbing pads between the two vertebrae. These discs do not actually "slip," they may split or rupture and following this rupture the gel come out in front of the nerve roots or spinal cord and can produce pressure on the spinal cord or on a single nerve root which cause radiating pain either around the damaged disc or anywhere along the area supplied by that nerve. This condition is also known as a herniated disc, ruptured disc, disc prolapse, or, more commonly, slip disc.
The most frequently affected area is the low back as low-back is taking the maximum body weight, but also it can affect the neck. When the discs of low back are ruptured there will be pain in low back that will radiate to the legs. Similarly in case of neck there will be pain in neck that will be radiating to the hands.
The nature of the pain is frequently electric shock-like pain or burning pain. This pain may be associated with some numbness, tingling sensations and sometime some muscle weakness.
Sciatica is a frequently used term both by doctors and by patients. It is a symptom and not a disease. Sciatica is defined as any pain that is starting in the low back and is going towards the legs. Slip-disc / disc prolapse is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
Apart from conservative therapy, main aim of the treatment is decompressing the nerve roots. These can be done by taking the disc out by surgery or by decompressing the intervertebral foramen and disc by different interventions.
Outcome studies of lumber disc surgeries document a success rate between 49% to 95% as well as re-operation after lumber disc surgeries ranging from 4% to 40%.
Epidural steroid injection, Transforaminal epidural decompressions has a high success rate (up to 85%).
Injection of Ozone for slipped disc or discogenic radiculopathy (low back pain with radiation to legs) has developed as a non-operative treatment of slipped disc/ slip disc (or called ozone therapy for slip disc) which is an alternative to disc surgery. Owing to its high success rate, less invasiveness, fewer chances of recurrences and remarkably fewer side effects, ozone therapy for slip disc is becoming popular day by day in the whole world. This is called ozone nucleolysis or ozone discectomy.
Percutaneous discectomy or Disc –Dekompressor technique is another less invasive non-operative treatment of herniated disc where disc material is taken out with motorized probe / drill.
These non-operative treatments of slipped disc have revolutionized the treatment of slip disc or sciatica it is done under radiological guidance on TV monitor with latest non-surgical techniques on day-care basis with high success rate, low cost and almost without complications and no chance of failed back surgery syndrome- the most fearsome complication of open surgery. . These techniques are widely used in USA & Europe for last 20 years.