Sciatica is a condition caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the thickest and longest nerve in your body. It extends from your lower back down to your feet. If the sciatic nerve is compressed or inflamed, it can cause sciatica.
Sciatica can be very painful and cause stabbing, burning, and shooting pains as well as tingling, numbness, and weakness in the buttocks, legs, feet, and toes. It can sometimes be the cause of back pain, too. Symptoms can be made worse when moving, sneezing, or coughing.
Sciatica is the result of something pressing or rubbing on the sciatic nerve which can be caused by a number of different conditions. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. This happens when the soft cushion of tissue between the spinal bones gets pushed out of place. It can then press on nearby nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
Spinal stenosis is another cause of sciatica which involves the narrowing of the spinal canal, causing the compression of the spinal nerves. Other causes of sciatica include back injuries and bone spurs.
Sciatica is more prevalent in people who smoke, have back problems, are obese, or lead sedentary lifestyles.
Sciatica typically gets better within a few weeks, and most people who suffer from it can be successfully treated with nonsurgical treatments aimed at relieving pain and pressure on the sciatic nerve. In some cases, sciatica can last longer and can prevent you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities comfortably.
Initially, your doctor may advise you to rest to help relieve the pain. After a few days, back stretches, gentle exercise, and heat therapy may be recommended. Over-the-counter or prescription medication may also help to alleviate symptoms of sciatica, but if symptoms do not improve significantly with medications, your doctor may recommend injecting the sciatic nerve roots with a steroid (anti-inflammatory) medication to relieve pain. Steroid injections can take up to a few days to start working and effects usually last up to 3 months.
In addition to medication, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to reduce pain, muscle spasms, and loss of motion. Physical therapists can create individualized treatment plans to help stretch and strengthen back muscles, improve flexibility and mobility, and to help prevent future issues, such as with exercises to correct your posture. Aquatic therapy may also be beneficial to ease discomfort and allow exercises to be performed with less stress on the body.
Surgery is only recommended when nonsurgical methods have provided minimal or no improvement to symptoms. Surgery corrects the root cause of the sciatic nerve compression. The type of surgery depends on what the root cause is. Your surgeon can discuss the most appropriate surgical options with you.
Pain Management in Boca Raton, Florida
If you are suffering with sciatica or other forms of pain, contact Kamerlink Pain Institute today. We offer sophisticated, effective pain relief for neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and spinal pain. We focus on compassionate, effective, interventional pain management and offer many different treatment options, including non-opioid medications, nerve blocks, and pain-relieving injection therapies as well as other minimally invasive procedures.
The friendly staff at Kamerlink Pain Institute welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you. If you have any questions about our pain management services or would like to make an appointment, please call our office at (561) 404-7667.