Back & Spine

Sciatica Pain Management

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Treatment for Pain in the Lower Back, Buttocks, Legs & Feet

The sciatic nerve is a long nerve pathway that extends from the lower back down to the thigh. The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in the body, and one can be found on each side of the body. When the sciatic nerve becomes damaged, it can cause radiating pain throughout the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. Sciatic nerve damage is called sciatica.

Sciatica can cause many painful symptoms, such as:
  • Burning sensations in the lower back, thigh, and calf
  • Radiating pain from the lower back and down the leg
  • Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg
  • Sharp pains when coughing or sneezing
  • Bowel and bladder incontinence
  • Loss of sensation in the thigh and leg

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes damaged or pinch. This is typically caused by a bulging or herniated disc in the spine. It can also be caused by overgrown bones in the spine (bone spurs) that pinch the sciatic nerve. It is difficult to diagnosis sciatic without an imaging test, which is why doctors will typically order an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI if they think it could be causing your pain.

Treatment Options for Sciatica

In many cases, sciatica can be successfully treated with conservative, noninvasive treatments. These methods may include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and physical therapy. In more intense cases, our pain specialists may recommend a steroid injection to reduce inflammation around the sciatic nerve.

Only when sciatica is causing serious complications like loss of bladder control and significant muscle weakness should you start considering surgery. Surgical treatment for sciatica involves treating the underlying cause of the problem. This could mean removing the bone spur or fixing the herniated disc.

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