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What is the cause and treatment for sciatica?

Q: My husband, 35 years, is having sciatica pain in left leg for the past 4 months. While walking he has pain. He has a tilt in posture leaning on the right side. Doctors say it is due to muscle weakness. We are much worried. How to correct it? 1. Are there any specific exercises to strengthen the muscles as his movements are much limited; 2. How far will Short wave diathermy be helpful? In the initial period traction has been tried. 3. Why is there a tilt in posture? Some have advised surgery but we are not interested. He has taken more than a month's rest. 4. How far is chiropractice helpful in correcting the posture and pain relief and is this available in Pune? Please help out.

A:Pain radiating along the distribution of the sciatic nerve (sciatica) is usually due to compression of its components within the spinal canal. The commonest cause is a backward bulge of one or more intervertebral discs. When the compression is more on one side, the muscles around the spine on that side go into spasm. This asymmetrical contraction of the muscles caused a tilt of the back. The muscle spasm serves to reduce those movements of the back that worsen the compression on the nerve roots. This is a protective mechanism. It is necessary to determine the exact cause of sciatica and treat it. I suggest examination of the patient by a senior neurosurgeon in your city. Diagnosis of the cause with lead to appropriate treatment - exercises, short-wave diathermy, traction or an operation. I am not an expert on chiropractice hence cannot comment on its utility in sciatica.

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