Electromyography, which should be accompanied by a nerve conduction velocity study (NCV), has the unique ability to detect nerve-root-level axon damage (damage to the tiny nerve fibers that makeup the nerve root) and will really finalize the diagnosis of disc-herniation-related radicular pain if found to be positive. This test also has the ability to differentiate between disc herniation-related sciatica and other causes of sciatica (., diabetes and herpes zoster), as well as differentiate between acute and chronic radicular pain.
Interspinous process distraction: A spacer device is inserted between the spinous processes – the bony protrusions along the back of the lumbar spine. Once in place, the spacer lifts and opens the spinal canal as if one were in a seated position rather than a standing position, effectively relieving the pressure on the spinal nerves. The spacer device is not attached to bone or ligament and does not result in spinal fusion. The surgery is minimally invasive and can be done under local anesthetic. Because interspinous process distractors are relatively new compared to a laminectomy, the long-term effectiveness is not known. Also, not all insurance companies will pay for this technology and out-of-pocket expenses may be incurred.