Sciatica is a painful condition that often goes away on its own. But when it doesn’t, you need treatment from a spine specialist.
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Symptoms of Sciatica

It’s often other conditions, such as herniated discs, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis, that put pressure on your sciatic nerve, causing severe pain. Symptoms are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain from back through buttocks to legs
  • Hip pain
  • Pain worsens when coughing
  • Numbness or tingling in your leg or foot
  • Leg weakness
  • Bowel or bladder issues

If you’ve been injured in an accident and have these symptoms, or experience leg weakness or trouble controlling your bowels or bladder, you need to contact us right away for an urgent visit.

Causes of Sciatica

Sharp pain that shoots down your leg is usually more concerning than back pain, and comes from nerve root compression, usually caused by:

Herniated Disc – A disc between the vertebrae moves and pinches a nerve.

Stenosis – Narrowing of the central canal (where the nerve originates) or narrowing of the foramen (where the nerve exits to go down your leg).

Spondylolisthesis – Caused by a vertebra slipping out of place, leaving less room for the nerve root.

Scoliosis – Narrows the space for the nerve root, causing nerve root compression.

Synovial Cyst – A cyst that arises from the joint of the spine.

Sciatic nerve pain

Learn More About Sciatica

Symptoms that Require Immediate Attention

Everyone has lower back pain now and then, but if you experience any of these symptoms, or shooting leg pain lasts longer than a week, you need to see a spine specialist as soon as possible.

  • Foot Drop (Difficulty lifting foot or big toe up off the ground)
  • Weakness in legs
  • Trouble walking
  • Issues with bladder or bowel control

Why Get Evaluated by a Spine Specialist?

We treat back and leg pain everyday. We want to help find a nonsurgical or surgical treatment in order to avoid:

  • Persistent pain that affects quality of life
  • Permanent neurologic deficit, like a foot drop
  • Going from doctor to doctor with no improvement
  • Reliance on pain medications

Treatments for Sciatica

Physical therapy with a certified physical therapist is the first line treatment for low back pain or leg pain in many cases, however if this has not worked in conjunction with injections, we can evaluate for other treatment options.

Back stretches and/or exercises can be incorporated into your daily routine in order to improve pain and quality of life. Improving core strength also improves lower back strength.
Heat and ice can help manage chronic lower back aches and pains.
Steroid Injections (either an Epidural or facet injection) can be used both as a diagnostic and therapeutic treatment option. Using radiographic guidance, a needle is inserted into the epidural space and the area is injected with steroid, anesthetic, or a combination of the two. This is done by a Pain Management physician, usually an Anesthesiologist or a Physiatrist, board certified in pain management.

Prescribed or over-the-counter pain meds work to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Oral pain medications are usually and should be only a short term solution to your leg or back pain

If you are unable to get sustained pain relief from nonsurgical treatment and/or your quality of life has not improved, then surgical intervention may be the best treatment for your pain. If weakness is associated with your pain, then surgery may be first line treatment.

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