What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a distinctive pain that radiates along the pathway of the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and runs down the back of each leg. This tell-tale symptom occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or inflamed, which often results from age-related degenerative changes in the spine, such as a bone spur or herniated disc. Sciatic nerve compression can also result from a spasm in the piriformis muscle or a direct blow to the lumbar spine. Typically, sciatica will flare for a few weeks and then resolve, only to return later (unless the source of the pain is addressed).
What does sciatica feel like?
Sciatic nerve pain can take several forms. For instance, it may cause:
- A burning feeling
- Electric-shock-like pain
- Tingling and pins-and-needles sensations
- Leg muscle weakness
- Leg cramps
- Lower back or leg pain that worsens with sitting, coughing or sneezing
Additionally, in very severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of bowel or bladder control. This rare but serious complication warrants emergency medical attention.
How is sciatica treated?
Sciatic nerve pain often responds well to simple home remedies, such as ice pack applications, stretches and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If further relief is needed, a physician may prescribe a muscle relaxant to ease painful spasms or a narcotic pain reliever to control very severe pain.
Physical activity is usually a key component of sciatica management. Most physicians advise their patients to immediately begin taking short walks and progress to a formal physical therapy program as soon as their comfort allows. Rehabilitation typically includes exercises to improve posture, enhance flexibility and strengthen the lower back and leg muscles. Therapeutic massage, chiropractic manipulation and ultrasound therapy may be beneficial as well.
If sciatica persists after several months of conservative therapy, a physician may recommend an epidural steroid injection or nerve block. In general, surgery is reserved as a last resort treatment for debilitating pain that is limiting mobility or diminishing quality of life.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, we take a conservative approach to sciatica treatment whenever possible. However, our experienced surgeons can perform both traditional and minimally invasive procedures to address sciatica when necessary.
If you’d like more information about the sciatica treatment options available at Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Houston, Texas, contact us today.
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1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr. Alain Elbaz is one of the most progressive orthopedic surgeons in the state. I’ve received PRP injections and hyaluronic acid injections in my aging and damaged joints allowing me to continue my daily jogging
Everyone here is so professional and kind. Everything was explained to me so that could understand what had to be done.
The surgery done by Dr. S. Patel (Actually injections) & the mild medications she has prescribed has surely made my lower back -hip-leg less painful.
Dr. Mills is exceptional. I would recommend him to anyone
Dr. Tanous and everyone at Advanced Orthopaedics are great. The surgery to repair my knee injury and the treatment afterwards were handled amazingly well.
I was in pain for a couple of months and went to see Dr. Cubbage. He knew right away by the way my posture what the issue was. He had me scheduled in and he along with his staff were awesome.
Dr. Mohr and his staff are very friendly people. They treated my father very well and made him feel comfortable in his uncomfortable situation.
When I started, I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg and now I can do virtually anything. While I hope to not need future therapy, this is without a doubt the place I will return to in the future.
Dr. Mihu is the most intelligent and polite Dr I have ever visited. Her and her nurse Nicole made me feel so welcomed. I have never encountered a doctor who knew so much and asked so many important questions
Very Knowledgeable and helpful. Went in for an appt. with Dr. Elbaz for tennis elbow. Needed prp injections and they didn’t have an opening til the following week, but since I traveled 2 hrs to their office