PHOENIX -- If you suffer from chronic back pain or sciatica, there is hope for a pain-free life.
Dr. Cecil Graham of AZ Pain Centers says sciatica, a radiating leg pain usually on the back or side of the leg, often originates in the spine of the lower back as a result of disc bulging, disc thinning, stenosis or other degenerative issues which narrow the nerve canals.
"Anything that puts pressure on the nerve itself is going to cause that pain," Graham explained. "The actual, physical approximation of something touching the nerve ... causes an inflammatory response."
For years, steroids have been the usual treatment.
"It works, but there are side effects," Graham said.
Those side effects can be quite serious, even potentially dangerous. That's why AZ Pain Centers has come up with a unique approach to treating sciatic pain, and it doesn't involve steroids.
"What we do has no known side effects," Graham explained. "We use a non-steroidal substance. That way, you can do as many injections as you need over time."
Graham said the injections are relatively pain-free and do not require any sedation. Doctors use a Dermo Jet to numb the area. "It feels like somebody's popping you with a rubber band," he said. "Everything else from the procedure is essentially painless."
Graham said it's important for patients to do something sooner rather than later, while the pain is still in the acute phase.
"if you get the acute, shooting pain -- the acute sciatica -- where the pain is shooting down the hip and leg -- if you can get that in the first two to three months ... you've got over a 95 percent cure rate."