Although it often gets lumped in with back pain, sciatica is different because the pain originates in the sciatic nerves rather than the spinal cord. The sciatica nerve branches out towards either side of the lower back, then run down each buttock, the back of the legs and continues under the feet all the way to the toes.
Symptoms of sciatica include the following sensations in the back or legs: a dull aching pain, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, sense of an electrical charge running down the nerve, throbbing heat, and stabbing pain. Sciatica symptoms tend to get worse with time when left untreated.
There is no single cause of sciatica pain. However, experts say that genetics and external forces play a role in the development of each person’s sciatica.
One of the most common causes of sciatica pain is a herniated disc in the lower back or bone spurs that causes pressure on the sciatic nerve causing a range of sensations from the point of the compression to all the way down to the toes.
Osteoarthritis is another cause. It impinges the nerve by narrowing the sheath the nerve rides through, causing some aforementioned symptoms.
Piriformis syndrome is another possibility for the root cause of sciatica in some people. It happens when a muscle in the buttocks pinches the nerve.
Sciatica is also more common in people with back problems, are obese, smoke, and those who lead sedentary lifestyles.
In some cases, sciatica issues resolve themselves and disappear within a week or two as the nerve works its way free. Individuals who seek treatment most often get relief using steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, NSAIDs, and acetaminophens to reduce the inflammation.
Increasing physical activity also helps tremendously with sciatica pain. This includes exercising, living a more active lifestyle, physical therapy, and limiting your time being sedentary.
Alternatively, using hot and cold packs, acupuncture, yoga, biofeedback, and chiropractic care also help a lot of people eliminate sciatica symptoms.
Surgery intervention is not necessary in most cases of sciatica pain. However, when it is necessary, there are two procedures surgeons generally perform for this problem: a diskectomy or a laminectomy. A diskectomy involves removing whatever is disturbing or pressing on the sciatic nerve (bone spur, disc, etc.). During a laminectomy, a surgeon removes a part of the lamina (a ring of bone that encompasses the spinal cord) if it is the cause of disturbance for the sciatic nerve.
If you suspect you may have sciatica pain, it’s important to see a doctor because if not diagnosed and treated early, the condition will likely become too much to handle, and the symptoms will eventually interfere with your everyday activities. If you live in the Boca Raton, Florida area and would like to get diagnosed and treated for sciatica or any other type of pain, consider the experts at Kamerlink Pain Institute. Dr. Kamerlink is a double board-certified surgeon and one of the most acclaimed and published experts in both pain management and anesthesiology. To make an appointment, call (561) 404-7667.