Sciatica: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options
Pain as a result of anomalies in the sciatic nerve. The nerve runs from the lower back to the back of the thigh. The pain may increase with time, causing paresthesia, a burning sensation in your limbs. Therefore, timely interventions are essential for minimizing complications. This article describes the causes and potential modalities for Las Vegas sciatica.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the longest and broadest nerve in your body. It attaches to the lumbar region and extends through the pelvis to the back of the thigh. The nerve sends signals from your lower limb and skin to your brain.
Sciatica occurs when something affects the normal function of the nerve. It is characterized by pain that radiates from the lower back to your leg. Sometimes you may feel the sensations in your leg.
Symptoms may vary from mild to severe pain. Common signs may include:
- Pain that radiates through your limbs on one side of the body
- Weakness in your limb and thigh muscles
- Back pain accompanied by a fever
- Poor bowel or bladder control
- Pain worsens when coughing
What causes sciatica?
Typically, sciatica occurs when inflammation around the lumbosacral spinal column irritates the sciatic nerve. In many cases, the irritation is due to a herniated disc. A herniated disc is when the disc cushioning the vertebrae sustains an injury.
Pressure from a herniated disc may irritate one or more nerves branching from the sciatic nerve. Stretching the leg on the affected side can intensify the pain.
But sciatica can occur due to other conditions like:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: Stenosis describes the narrowing of the bones in the spinal canal. The lack of space exerts pressure on the nerves and may cause sciatica.
- Degenerative disc disease: It is the wear of the bones acting as shock absorbers along the spinal column. The deterioration may cause nerve irritation leading to sciatica.
- Piriformis muscle spasms: The piriformis muscle spasms impact the function of the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome causes pain sensations from the lumbar region to the thigh bone.
- Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis happens when bones in the spinal column shift out of place. The movements alter the spaces in the spinal column and squeeze the nerves.
Treatment for sciatica
Every sciatica case is different. Therefore, the diagnostic and treatment process may vary. Diagnosis generally begins with a physical exam and an evaluation of your history. Your healthcare provider may request x-rays and MRIs to establish the factors behind the sciatica symptoms.
The results of your initial diagnosis will inform the treatment plan. Patients with mild sciatica may benefit from physiotherapy and improve symptoms within weeks.
Severe cases caused by herniated discs will require lumbar laminectomies to create space in the spinal column. The procedure removes a section of the lamina to relieve pressure on the nerves.
A corticosteroid injection can manage pain around the affected area. Regardless of your symptoms, there are non-invasive treatment options available. Your healthcare provider will discuss the potential interventions and their potential risks.
To schedule a sciatica consultation, call McNulty Spine or schedule an appointment on the website today.