What is Sciatica?

Sciatica can cause pain to radiate down into the legs

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in our body. It controls numerous muscles in the lower extremities and supplies sensation as well. Sciatica is technically not a condition. It is the term given to describe the symptoms of another problem involving the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be extremely painful. The pain felt is typically caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Pain usually begins in the lower back and then radiates through the hip and buttocks and then down the leg. Only one side of your body is characteristically affected but it can occur on both sides.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

  • Low Back Pain
  • Pain in the Rear or Leg
  • Hip Pain
  • Burning or Tingling
  • Numbness or Weakness
  • Shooting or stabbing pain

What are the causes of sciatica?

Sciatica conditions may develop with age or due to trauma from a physical injury such as a car or work accident, sports injury or fall. Medical experts estimate that 40% of people will experience sciatica pain in their life. The primary reason sciatica occurs is from the nerve being pinched from a herniated disc. Other Common causes include:

  • Bone Spur
  • Herniated or Bulging Disc
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Inflammation or Muscle Spasm
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Pregnancy

Depending on the severity of your pain, the doctor may order imaging tests to see if you have any of the above conditions. Testing may include:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Discogram

What treatment options are available for sciatica?

Your doctor will determine if you have acute or chronic sciatica pain. There are many treatment options ranging from at home self-care to medical intervention. These can include:

  • Cold or Hot packs
  • Exercises and Stretches
  • Pain medication
  • Chiropractic Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Steroid Injections
  • Nerve Root Blocks
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery

Your doctor will discuss all treatment options with you so you can decide which option you are most comfortable with. To learn more contact Total Spine & Orthopedics today. We can also provide a free MRI review*.

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