Pain in your back can have a number of different causes, including nerve irritation. One of the biggest nerves that’s affected in your back is known as your sciatic nerve. When it becomes irritated, the pain in your back and legs is intense and sometimes debilitating. Getting treatment can help you ease the pain so you can get back to your busy life.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine, John Monroe, MD and his team can help you get the expert treatment you need to get rid of your sciatic pain for good.
Sciatica — What is it?
Your sciatic nerve is a very large nerve that’s located in your back. The nerve originates in your lower back, and then travels down into your hips, buttocks, and legs. Because this nerve is so large, it’s very prone to becoming pinched or compressed.
So what exactly is sciatica? This condition occurs when something in your back presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain in your back and your legs. The pain is usually one-sided, but can be very uncomfortable and hard to get rid of.
There are several conditions that lead to irritation of your sciatic nerve, which then causes pain. Several of the issues in your back that lead to this condition include:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
Any of these conditions may cause irritation, compression, or injury to your sciatic nerve. Because the nerve is so big, the pain affects your back, and may also radiate down one or both of your legs.
A physical job that requires lifting or bending makes you more susceptible to developing sciatica, as well as these risk factors, including:
- Previous injury
- Poor posture
While sciatica can’t be completely prevented, knowing if you’re at risk may help you take steps to avoid this painful condition.
Symptoms of sciatica
Your symptoms may vary greatly, depending on the severity of the condition that’s causing your sciatica. However, the signs of this condition are related to the involvement of the nerve, and may include symptoms such as:
- Pain that’s worse with movement
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Tingling sensation in your legs
- Pain that travels down your buttocks or legs
- Decreased movement
If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s best to be seen as soon as possible by Dr. Monroe to avoid more problems down the road. Sciatica symptoms are usually able to be treated without any permanent issues.
Treatment can help
To determine the best route of treatment for your sciatica, Dr. Monroe assesses your symptoms. For mild or moderate symptoms, Dr. Monroe suggests conservative treatment measures, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Ice or heat
- Prescription medications
- Corticosteroid injections
In many cases, the above therapies are enough to relieve your pain so you can alleviate continue with your daily activities. If your pain perseveres through after trying these options, Dr. Monroe may recommend referring you to a surgeon.
The typical surgical procedure recommended depends on the condition that’s causing your sciatica. For example, a microdiscectomy is used to extract disc fragments due to a herniated disc. The fragments are usually pressing on your sciatic nerve, which causes pain.
If sciatica is causing you unbearable pain, don’t hesitate to call us at (623) 889-3477 to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment online today with Dr. Monroe using our booking tool.