If you’ve ever heard someone complain of low back pain, sciatica may have been the culprit. Sciatica is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that can develop in the lower back when an injury or degenerative condition is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to sciatica include:
- Bulging disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Spinal arthritis
Because these conditions can affect the anatomical components of the spine, including its vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and ligaments, it’s no surprise that changes in the spine’s structure or stability can have an effect on the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots and cause sciatica pain.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It begins in the lower part of the spinal cord (the lumbar spine) and extends all the way down the back of the thigh. Just above the back of the knee, the sciatic nerve divides into nerve branches to deliver sensation to the calf and foot.
Compression on the roots of this nerve can lead to a variety of painful symptoms that span the length of the lower body:
- A warm or electric sensation affecting the lower extremities
- Numbness or loss of feeling in the thigh, lower leg, or foot
- Shooting pain that begins in the lower back and radiates down through the buttocks, leg, and calf
Sciatica can affect both sides of the body, but it is far more common for it to only affect one side. This occurs because of the anatomical issue in the spine, such as a herniated disc, generally only affects the nerve roots on one side of the spinal column. Sciatica pain can make sitting or standing for long periods of time excruciating, though most people find that slow walking or lying down helps to alleviate symptoms.
Does Sciatica Always Require Surgery?
Pain relief for sciatica can take a variety of forms. While surgery for sciatica is available, trying all nonsurgical treatments prior to considering surgery is recommended. Sciatica therapy is aimed at managing symptoms and helping to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica treatments can include physical therapy, gentle stretching, low-impact exercise, steroids and anti-inflammatory medication. If these sciatic therapies are ineffective, more targeted back pain treatments may be necessary:
- Lumbar epidural steroid injections
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Sciatica Pain Treatment in Texas and Florida
At Physician Partners of America, we know that sciatica pain can affect every aspect of your life. Chronic low back pain can make it difficult to do your job, exercise, and socialize with others. Our experienced team of back pain doctors and sciatica specialists is committed to helping you regain your life and keep pain at bay. We offer sciatica treatment at clinics throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area so finding effective, customized care has never been more convenient. Make today the day you start taking your life back from back pain by scheduling an appointment with the physicians of Physician Partners of America.