On-our-last-nerve-sciatica

On Our Last Nerve: Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in our bodies, so it’s not surprising that it can wreak havoc when we injure it. Sciatica is pain that can radiate from the lower back through the buttock and down into the leg. When the sciatic nerve starts to act up, it can make sitting down or standing up hard, where you can hardly find a comfortable position to be in. Read more about this nerve and how to heal it if you hurt it – at home or with our help. 

What is the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve we have in our bodies. It’s made up of five nerve roots that come from the lower spine and travels down the legs. Spine-Health further explains that the sciatic nerve connects the spinal cord with the skin and muscles of the thigh, leg, and foot. 

Sciatica

The sciatic nerve can become inflamed and irritated which causes sciatica. Sciatica is when the pain radiates along the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower back, hips, lower back, buttocks, and down the leg. In most cases, sciatica happens when a herniated disk on the spine compresses the nerve. Sciatica will typically only affect one side of the body, but the pain can affect the way you do everyday tasks like sitting down, standing up, laying down, walking, and more. 

Sciatica is not an uncommon problem with Americans. In fact, it’s been found that it affects up to 40% of people at one point or another. 

Symptoms

The common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain that radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg 
  • Discomfort along the nerve throughout the lower body, especially from lower back through the thigh and down to the calf
  • Burning sensation along the nerve
  • Numbness or tingling in the leg affected 

More severe symptoms that warrant an immediate doctor’s visit include:

  • Sudden and severe pain in the low back, leg, or numbness and weakness in leg muscles 
  • If the pain begins after an injury, like a car accident
  • You can’t control your bowel or bladder movements 

Causes

Sciatica can be brought on by a number of underlying conditions or lifestyle factors. Some of the common causes of sciatica are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Wearing uncomfortable shoes, like heels
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis 

Some people are more at-risk for sciatica than others. This includes people who are older and experiencing age-related symptoms in the spine, people who are overweight, people who sit most of the day, those whose work involves heavy lifting or driving, and people diagnosed with diabetes. 

Treatment 

Every patient shows different signs and symptoms of sciatica and lower back pain. Due to this, Interventional Pain Associates will create a personalized treatment plan that will be best for you. After looking at your symptoms, history, and the goal of your treatment, your plan will be put into place. We offer innovative pain management techniques to help you recover without surgery or use of heavy medications. The treatment methods offered include:

Interventional procedures: this will include pain management techniques like steroid therapy, spinal cord stimulation, injections, drug delivery systems to targeted body parts 

Physical therapy: this involves specific stretching, massage, stimulation, and other similar techniques that help relieve pressure placed on the low back and lower inflammation

Prevention of Sciatica

Sometimes the causes of sciatica can’t be prevented, but there are things to help keep you healthy before problems with sciatica arise or get worse. Some of the things you can do to keep a healthy back are:

  • Lifting properly, using your legs and not your back
  • Quit smoking as smoking can cause disc degeneration 
  • Exercising often to keep strong muscles in the core to help support the spine
  • Not sitting for prolonged lengths of time 

Get Help with Interventional Pain Associates 

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work, daily activities, and spend time at the doctor. If you’re ready to treat your pain without surgery, request an appointment today. Using innovation pain management techniques and individualized treatment plans, Interventional Pain Associates will work to get you pain free as soon as possible. Call Dr. Saleemi today at (512)-795-7575 to get on the road to recovery.