Sciatica Doctor And Treatment Outcome
Patients looking for a sciatica doctor or a low back pain doctor are usually nervous and worried about whether they’re going to respond to the treatment. Especially when it comes to getting out of pain or getting rid of their leg numbness or tingling and returning to their normal activities. A variety of studies have shown chiropractic care to be an effective option for the low back pain patient. Though there is no “crystal ball”, there are some tests that doctors of chiropractic can perform during an examination that can help predict outcomes.
A meta-analysis of data from 43 studies published since 2012 offers important prognostic clues. This study suggests that centralization and directional preference may be present in 60-70% of low back pain cases. Directional preference means that it’s possible to move the body in a manner that feels better to the patient. Centralization implies that it’s possible to move in a way that reduces the range of the pain to a specific region.
The Prediction Method A Sciatica Doctor Uses
Here’s an example. Let’s say a low back pain patient also presents with sciatica symptoms like radiating leg pain from their lower back with numbness and tingling in the leg and foot. The focus is to find a movement that reduces their leg pain or numbness. So, their doctor of chiropractic asks the patient to bend forward, backward, and sideways, and to rotate their torso. While the patient does this, the low back doctor is looking for which direction is preferred. Meaning, which direction decreases the patient’s symptoms. Also called directional preference. If the pain centralizes, this means the leg pain or leg numbness or leg tingling disappears. When the patient bends backward, and the pain decreases and centralizes, then extension is the directional preference.
Centralization means a favorable prognostic sign indicating that improvement can be expected. Likewise, when all positions or directions increase leg pain, this is a poor prognostic sign. It means that this is likely a more challenging case.
How This Info Is Used For Your Treatment Outcome
This helps low back pain and sciatica doctors better advise patients about their condition and what to expect from care. Expectation in both the short and long term so that the patient can make REALISTIC goals and timely plans. Directional preference also allows doctors a means of determining what type of treatment to emphasize. For example, if the patient feels better bending backward and leg pain disappears, the sciatica doctor will approach treatment and exercise recommendations from that direction.
Of course patient education is an important part of treatment. Educating patients on how this process can predict treatment outcome instills trust and places realistic goals in perspective so patients know what to expect. This improves compliance with care and confidence for both the doctor and the patient.
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