Have you noticed any pain, discomfort, or irritation running down your lower back and into your legs? If yes, then you may be suffering from sciatica. This is a type of nerve pain that occurs due to injury or irritation to your sciatic nerve.
Dayton sciatica board-certified neurosurgeospecializesze in patient-centered care using state-of-the-art technology and can effectively alleviate pain and other associated symptoms, thereby improving your quality of life.
Understanding sciatica and its causes
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body that runs from the lower back down the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Any injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve leads to sciatica.
Several conditions cause sciatica, that include the following :
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc diseases
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing)
- Foraminal stenosis
- Tumors or cysts
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing sciatica, such as:
- Age over 50 years
- Obesity (overweight)
- Heavy lifting
- Repetitive twisting
- Type 2 diabetes
- Tobacco use
The symptoms of sciatica include:
- Sharp, shooting, burning kind of pain that radiates down the leg on the affected side
- Tingling or needle-pricking sensation (paresthesia)
- Numbness on the affected side
- Muscle weakness
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
Diagnostic tools and conditions
Your doctor can diagnose sciatica using a combination of methods. Your medical history will be reviewed and your symptoms will be evaluated.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination to check your reflexes and muscle strength.
Furthermore, your doctor may perform additional tests like:
- Spine X-rays
- CT scans
- Nerve conduction velocity studies
Sciatica can be treated depending on the cause and severity of the symptoms. This includes:
- Ice and hot packs every 20 minutes several times a day
- Stretching activities to strengthen core muscles
- Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy that includes stretching exercises to reduce inflammation and relieve pressure from the nerve
- Spinal injections like steroid injections to minimize pain and discomfort
- Diskectomy: Removal of small fragments of a herniated disk that are pressing on a nerve.
- Laminectomy: Removal of a section of the lamina that is pressing against the spinal nerve
Surgical intervention is often recommended for severe cases of sciatica. These are minimally invasive, and outpatient procedures that utilize advanced state-of-the-art technology.
Sciatic pain can disrupt your life due to persistent pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are several treatment options depending on the severity of your symptoms.
With the right treatment, you can put sciatica behind you and return to living a normal pain-free life.