Trapped nerve treatment
If you’re suffering from trapped nerve symptoms and especially if it is due to a slipped disc It is important to seek professional help quickly preferably from a health care practitioner who is experienced in dealing with disc conditions. These can be complex and require skilled assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Often there is an underlying process that has caused the injury, with damage to the disc occurring over an extended period of time, as a result of abnormal loading through the disc due to poor spinal mechanics, poor muscle support, poor posture, past injury, or bad working habits.
If you have had your symptoms for less than 3 months
If caught within the first 6 weeks – and your condition is not too severe – osteopathic treatment can be very effective. Osteopaths are skilled at finding the mechanical reasons responsible for your herniation and use effective, gentle treatments to correct these stresses. If the trapped nerve is due to muscle tension this can respond very quickly, within 2-3 treatments but will take a little longer to change the underlying cause and stop it coming back.
However if there is a disc problem this will take some time and often requires between 6-8 treatments to begin to get rid of the nerve pain – and longer to allow you to be able to begin to stress the disc again. But it is perfectly possible to allow the disc to heal without the need for surgery or epidural injection.
There is evidence to support the fact that osteopathic treatment can help with sciatic pain* and clinical experience shows that about 40-60% of all cases will respond very well to osteopathic treatment and rehabilitative exercise.
Medication prescribed by your GP can often help with the pain and is often useful used alongside Osteopathy, but can have quite nasty side effects and can be addictive. Also, medication only addresses your symptoms and will do nothing about the underlying injury process, meaning that there is a risk of this recurring again, if not managed with appropriate treatment and advice.
*Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010, 18:3 doi:10.1186/1746-1340-18-3 Article URL http://www.chiroandosteo.com/content/18/1/3
If you have had your symptoms for longer than 3 months
If your symptoms have persisted for longer than 3-6 months it is unlikely that osteopathy will be able to help, especially if you have already tried this or some other form of manual therapy. Surgery is not often advised and less than 5% of all disc problems are operated on.
Your GP will probably refer you for a steroid injection for which you may have to wait quite a long time. In addition, steroid injections do not address the disc condition but just bathe the region with a strong anti-inflammatory to help with the nerve pain. The pain often returns, but if it stays away for 3 months it is less likely to. However, the underlying problem still remains and without some form of rehabilitation there is a large risk of recurrence.
For cases such as these, we have had great success using IDD Therapy non-surgical spinal decompression.