Sciatica is nerve pain that typically begins in the buttocks, radiates down the back of the thigh, and sometimes continues into the leg and foot. It is named after the Sciatic Nerve which runs down the back of the thigh before branching around the knee.
Sciatica symptoms frequently result from one of three common spinal conditions that cause compression of nerve roots in the lower back. These conditions are: Lumbar Disc Herniation, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, and Spondylolisthesis. Compression of the nerve roots may result in radiating pain, numbness, and muscle weakness called Lumbar Radiculopathy.
Sciatica Treatment Options
Although sciatica can be disabling, the great news is that it is very treatable. Many patients benefit from a stepwise approach (although specific circumstances can sometimes dictate otherwise…)
Step 1: Conservative Treatment: Treatment for early stage sciatica usually includes basic measures such as, appropriate exercises, avoiding exacerbating activities, anti-inflammatory medications and short courses of pain medications.
Step 2: Epidural Steroid Injection: More bothersome cases frequently respond well to epidural steroid injections.
Step 3: Spinal Surgery: If severe sciatica persists despite these basic measures, then surgery to decompress the compressed nerve roots enjoys excellent success rates, and is appropriately considered. The particulars of surgery differ between Lumbar Disc Herniations, Spinal Stenosis, and Spondylolisthesis, but share a common goal of decompressing compressed nerve roots. Recent scientific studies show that patients with persisting, severe sciatica symptoms enjoy significantly faster relief with surgery compared to continued non-operative care.
Mark Nelson, M.D. specializes in treating Sciatica, and is happy to discuss the specifics of your condition, and explain your treatment options.
Call (858) 777-7917 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson, and start your recovery today!