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Is my back pain due to sciatica?

Q: I am having pain starting from my lower back down to the foot since last 7-8 years. Doctors have diagnosed it as sciatica pain. My MRI shows a problem in L4/L5, i.e. expunging of nerves. Now, I cannot stand/walk for more than 5-8 minutes. I feel pain continuously. Now, I also feel slight numbness in the front portion of my right foot. I am a working lady doing a 9-to-5 job on the computer. Am I heading towards a surgery? Is there no cure of sciatica pain?

A:Your symptoms strongly suggest compression of nerves in your lower back with consequent poor functioning of these nerves. Left untreated, the nerves may weaken further. As they do, muscles supplied by them and sensations conveyed by them will deteriorate. Initial pain in the left leg and foot and more recent numbness in the right foot show that the initial compression on the left nerve is now being complicated by the development of compression of the right nerve as well. If, as you suggest, the L4-5 disc is the culprit, it is best that pressure by it on the nerves be relieved. Surgery may be the only option. Results of such surgery are gratifying, with relief of pain. Recovery of the compressed nerves, on the other hand, may be slow. If they have been compressed for as long as 7-8 years, such recovery may also be incomplete.

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