ILC's Treatment for Sciatica

Having been adopted in over 54 countries globally,
the "Cellgel Method" for treating lower back pain
is now available in Japan

For those who have been told it was impossible to operate,
For those who have had recurrence of pain post-surgery,
A low-risk, outpatient treatment is now an option for you.

back pain image

This page provides information on the main symptoms and causes of sciatica and our treatment procedures. The information includes the method of treatment, treatment time, and information about insurance. We use the Cellgel method, which is one of the most advanced methods in the world, and the characteristics of this method are also described in detail.

Please read this page especially if you have been told that you cannot be cured without surgery, if you have had surgery in the past but have not improved, or if you got better after surgery but the symptoms have recurred.

What is sciatica?

Inflammation of the sciatic nerve causes numbness and pain in the buttocks, thighs, shins, calves, and legs.

Sciatica the name of a symptom - there are many diseases that cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve in the first place.

Image of sciatic nerve Image of sciatic nerve

Main symptoms of sciatica

condition of intermittent claudication

Sciatica is a symptom of compression or inflammation of the thickest nerve in the human body, which extends from the lower back to the legs.

Symptoms often appear in the buttocks and thighs from the waist down, and include sharp, electric-like pain or numbness in the calves and feet, calf tension, a cold or burning sensation, and weakness in the legs.

As the condition worsens, chronic pain and numbness appear, and in severe cases, problems with holding or passing urine/stool may occur, especially in middle-aged and elderly people.

The pain can also make it difficult to walk or get up from a chair.

Causes of sciatica

We know about lumbar disc herniation and lumbar spinal canal stenosis, but many other diseases cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve, such as intervertebral arthritis, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint disorder, etc. Therefore, an MRI or other tests at a medical institution are necessary to closely examine the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the true cause of sciatic nerve pain at an osteopathic clinic or through massage.

In addition, we recommend that you consult a doctor as soon as possible because sciatic pain that persists indefinitely may worsen if not treated.
Sciatica can also be caused by long hours at a desk or lack of exercise. If left untreated, sciatica can cause stress on a daily basis.

How to start treating sciatica as soon as symptoms appear

Since sciatica often affects the buttocks, thighs, and calves from the lower back down, it is important to first seek medical advice if any of the above symptoms appear.
It is important to have an MRI and X-ray examination, inform the doctor of your daily symptoms, and receive appropriate treatment methods to prevent the symptoms from worsening and to relieve any worries about the pain you have been suffering from. Do not judge for yourself, but consult a nearby clinic or hospital.

MRI and X-rays can be taken at our clinic.
In addition, if you send us the MRI/X-ray images and medical questionnaire, our doctors will diagnose the problem remotely.

If you are suffering from sciatic nerve pain, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Since many of our patients come from far away,
we are happy to give free consultations to see which treatment is best for you

We'll diagnose your MRI images for free!

Treatment at ILC

There are four main treatments at our clinic.

As mentioned above, the root cause of each back pain disease is "inflammation and deformation due to aging of the intervertebral discs." Although the four treatment methods have different features and advantages, we would like to first introduce the "Cellgel method," which is the only one capable of intervertebral disc repair.


The Cellgel Method

About Cellgel

The Cellgel method is an advanced treatment for low back pain that has been implemented in more than 54 countries worldwide, predominantly in Europe.
As with other treatments, it does not decrease the disc volume, and since the drug remains in the disc as a gel-like implant after treatment, the disc can be preserved. Recent studies have also shown that the volume of the disc increases after treatment.*1
It is also thought that by repairing the disc and preventing leakage of the Nucleus Pulposus, the disc itself will restore its normal function with its own regenerative ability (*2).
It is particularly recommended for patients who are concerned about the risk of conventional disc surgery (MED, PELD, etc.).

*1 Source: European Journal of Radiology 109 (2018) 101–107 , Efficiency of an ethyl alcohol gel in symptomatic disc hernation
*2 Source: International Journal of Spine Surgery Vol. 15 Appendix 1 from regenerative treatment of disc degeneration

*Medical institutions are required to have certifications like this one to perform the "Cellgel method".
"Very good or good results were obtained in 202 (91.4%) of the 221 patients in group A. Of the 44 patients in group B, 37 patients (84%) presented very good or good results and in 9 (82%) of the 11 patients of group C, we obtained similar results. There was no allergic complication in any of our patients. Long-term follow-up magnetic resonance showed a dramatic reduction in hernia volume."

- Dr. J. Theron, one of the world's leading experts in the treatment of Celgel method, from his research article "Percutaneous Treatment of Lumbar Intervertebral Disk Hernias With Radiopaque Gelified Ethanol - A preliminary study."

Merits of Cellgel

  • Possibility to repair intervertebral discs where unable to using surgical or laser treatment
  • As the disc is repaired, the disc itself regains its original normal function through its own regenerative ability
  • The Cellgel method uses local anesthesia over general anesthesia used in conventional surgery, making it less burdensome on the body
  • Treatment is done with a thin needle, so the wound is minimal and recovery is rapid
  • Treatment is very short, allowing for outpatient day treatment
  • Safe, modern treatment proven in more than 54 countries around the world

Flow Cellgel Treatment Process

  • Examination Image
    01 Examination

    MRI and X-rays will be taken, followed by a doctor's diagnosis.
    If the diagnosis proves the Cellgel method suitable, treatment can begin that same afternoon.

  • Before Treatment Image
    02 Before

    After entering the treatment room and administering local anesthesia to the lower back, a needle is inserted into the intervertebral disc identified in the examination.
    A contrast scan is performed to confirm the location of the damaged disc.

  • Treatment Image
    03 Treatment

    The Cellgel drug is administered to the damaged area while confirming the location of the disc with a fluoroscopy device.

    Once the drug has been absorbed, the needle is removed and the bleeding is stopped.

  • Returning Home Image
    04 Returning

    After the treatment, the patient rests in a private room for about an hour, and then allowed to go home after the post-treatment examination.

    *Resting time depends on the patient's symptoms and condition.

Price Cost of Treatment for the Cellgel Method

Number of
Discs Treated
1 disc 2 discs 3 discs 4 discs 5 discs
Treatment Cost 1,320,000 JPY 1,430,000 JPY 1,540,000 JPY 1,650,000 JPY 1,760,000 JPY

Swipe left/righ

* The cost of treatment is indicated including taxes.
*If treatment is performed at our clinic, all examination/diagnosis costs and test costs such as MRI are included in the above costs.
*This treatment method is not covered by Japanese health insurance, so you will have to pay for the entire treatment yourself.
*Payment by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Diners, Discover) is also possible.
*If you would like rehabilitation (low back pain specialized rehabilitation), it is also possible to pay by bank transfer.
*If you live and work in Japan, you can receive a tax refund by filing your final medical expense return.

FAQ FAQ about sciatica and treatment

What's the difference in the reccurence rate between Cellgel and conventional surgery?

Surgical procedures, which began in the 1960s, aimed to remove and sometimes fix deformed bones and herniated tissue. However, new bone damage caused by screws and the lack of fundamental treatment (repair of the intervertebral disc annulus fibrosus) resulted in the appearance of additional back pain and recurrence rates.

Therefore, in the 1980s, the need for fundamental treatment increased, and the intervertebral disc treatment (Cellgel) that we provide at our clinic began. Cellgel, in particular, have been proven to repair and regenerate the intervertebral disc, resulting in not only improvement of symptoms, but also an extremely low recurrence rate.

How is the disc to be treated determined?
The doctor will spend about 30 minutes with the patient while looking at the MRI and X-ray images to determine the cause of the condition, determine the treatment area, and explain the corresponding treatment method to the patient. MRI images show the main factors that contribute to back pain (disc, nerve, ligament, and joint), such as changes in shape, pressure on the nerve, presence or absence of damage, and inflammation. The x-ray image mainly confirms the condition of the bones.
Why is the Cellgel method applicable to cases where surgery showed no improvement?
During surgery for disc herniation, the prolapsed herniation is removed, but the damaged disc remains intact. As a result, fresh nucleus pulposus components leak from the damaged disc and inflammation persists. On the other hand, our treatment can treat the disc injury itself, thus suppressing inflammation by reducing the fresh leakage of nucleus pulposus components.
My back pain may temporarily worsen after treatment. How long will it last?
The reason for the lower back pain is that spinal ligaments that have been compressed are stretched; the lower back pain lasts for about two weeks and then subsides.
What level of exercise can I perform after treatment?
General recreational exercise and sports can be done without any problem. For professional athletes, the possibility of new disc damage is high and should be discussed in consultation with a doctor.
Please tell me about what I should be cautious about after treatment.
During the first few days after treatment, the patient should rest and avoid prolonged sitting, heavy lifting, twisting, bending, or strenuous exercise. Patients should be able to perform routine tasks one week after treatment and should be able to perform light exercise by the second week. Weight training is allowed after 3 months.
Is the treatment covered by the Japanese national health insurance?
No, it is not covered by the national insurance. If you have life insurance, you may be eligible. Please feel free to consult our staff regarding this matter.
How long must I wait to be able to walk after treatment?
It is an outpatient/day treatment, so you can walk about an hour after the surgery.
How many doctor visits do I need to make before treatment?
We require an MRI to be taken within three months for remote diagnosis, either with our affiliated clinic or from data sent by you. You can receive treatment on the same day after phyiscal diagnosis. You may also request only the diagnosis and come back only for the treatment at a later date.
Can I fly immediately after the treatment?
If there are no problems after the treatment, you may fly. If there is any pain after the treatment, flying may not be recommended depending on the doctor's evaluation.
What's the difference between back pain and sciatica?
Both low back pain and sciatica are general terms for symptoms, they are not spinal disease names.
It is very difficult to distinguish between low back pain and sciatica, and it is generally believed that any nerve-related symptoms in the lower back or lower limbs (legs) is sciatica.
Can I cure sciatica by any other means than surgery?
Surgery can relieve sciatica, but it is not a complete and fundamental remedy.
What can I do to treat sciatica?

Avoiding pressure on the nerves as much as possible is one effective method.

If you are in a sitting position for a long time, you should stand up once an hour to avoid pressure, and other treatment methods to relieve muscle tension are also necessary.

What can I do to improve the pain and numbness?
Chronic low back pain and numbness may be due to a loss of strength and muscle tone.
Inner muscle training is considered to be necessary..
Is it possible to treat sciatica at ILC International Lumbago Clinic?
Yes, it is possible.
Sciatica, a symptom of conditions such as lumbar disc herniation and lumbar spinal canal stenosis, can be treated to eliminate inflammation and improve the condition.
First, a diagnosis is necessary to determine eligibility for treatment.

ILC Rehabilitation X Sciatica Treatment

Although the Cellgel method can repair and regenerate the disc itself, and other treatment methods we offer can fundamentally heal the disc; it is possible that the cause of back pain is not only the disc, but also muscles, joints, and ligaments that are affected by the disc.

In cooperation with our rehabilitation specialists, we recommend treating back pain caused by muscles, joints, and ligaments together.

We also offer a short-term intensive program for patients who live far away or overseas.

  • ILC's Low Back Pain Treatment

    Outpatient Treatment

    Improve back pain disorders/
    symptoms in relation to the nerves

    Intervertebral disc treatment area
  • ILC's Rehabilitation Program

    Specialized Low Back Pain Rehabilitation

    Improve back pain disorders/symptoms in
    relation to the joints, muscles, ligaments

    Treatment locations for low back pain-specific rehabilitation
  • 01

    ILC's Specialized Back Pain Rehabilitation

    Our Rehabilitation Approach to Sciatica

    It is very important to know when and in what posture the symptoms appear, whether the sciatic nerve pain is constant or only when standing.

    If the symptoms are constant, the sciatic nerve is continually irritated and inflammation is persistent.
    If there is persistent inflammation of the sciatic nerve, Cellgel method or acupuncture and moxibustion are needed to remove the physical stimulus that is causing the inflammation, and if the symptoms depend on the posture, posture and movement should be improved through exercise therapy.

  • 02

    ILC's Specialized Back Pain Rehabilitation

    How to Evaluate Sciatica

    Based on the MRI imaging findings, a consultation is held with the doctor to determine if there are any factors around the spine, such as intervertebral discs, that may be contributing to sciatic nerve pain.

    If non-medical intervention is necessary, we will use the findings of the conference to evaluate exacerbating and relieving factors in the posture and movements of daily living while actually moving the body slowly.

    Aggravating factors are defined as movements that should not be performed, and mitigating factors are symptoms that can be alleviated by doing certain body movements. We will comphehensively evaluate these factors with muscle strength and stiffness, and explore the nature of the symptoms.

    In addition, since inflammation is very closely related to the state of the physical body, we will also conduct a medical interview and evaluate the level of oxidative stress to evaluate the factors contributing to inflammation.

  • 03

    ILC's Specialized Back Pain Rehabilitation

    Rehabilitation Treatment for Sciatica

    The sciatic nerves usually cause the lower limbs to be affected by disc herniation or spinal stenosis, or by blood flow obstruction or myofascial problems, which can cause a variety of symptoms.
    The sciatic nerve pain treatment is performed while looking for the cause of the problem.

    There are four main types of sciatica treatment:

    1. Physical Therapy

      To relieve symptoms that cause sciatica

      1. i. Physical therapy, especially heat therapy to improve blood flow obstruction
      2. ii. Inner muscle activation
    2. Acupuncture
      1. i. To improve blood flow / remove obstruction
      2. ii. Acupuncture for pain relief to slow down the sensation of pain and numbness
      3. iii. Electro-acupuncture to suppress nerve inflammation
    3. Exercise therapy
      1. i. Gain anterior and posterior mobility of the pelvis. Correcting muscles and joints related to habitual bad posture (e.g. slouching)
      2. ii. Improving mobility of the thoracic spine and flexibility of the gluteal muscle group
      3. iii. Releasing muscle tension in the lower limb muscle groups
    4. Dietary Improvement
      1. i. Citric acid cycle therapy to improve blood flow and relieve stress
      2. ii. Guidance on the usefulness of enzymes in the prevention of inflammation

    We hope these rehabilitation services help you lead a stress-free life.

  • 04

    ILC's Specialized Back Pain Rehabilitation

    Treatment Period for Sciatica Rehabilitation

    It depends on the degree of nerve compression and the length of time since the onset of the cause.

    If it is caused by muscle or myofascia, the rehabilitation period will be about two weeks.
    A longer rehabilitation period tends to be required in cases of sciatica with nerve damage such as numbness and sensory loss.

We aim to achieve 100% effectiveness of treatment while incorporating the latest technology, so we spend at least 30 minutes with each patient to carefully and meticulously examine the patient's concerns in order to make a proper diagnosis and propose the most suitable treatment methods.

We are certain to find a way to alleviate or eliminate the pain and numbness you are experiencing, so please do not give up and give us a call instead!

- Tadaaki Minowa, Clinic Director

Dr image