What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition wherein the individual experiences a feeling of numbness, tingling and/or weakness in their legs or other parts of their body. This pain and numbness commonly originates from the lower back, where the sciatic nerve resides, traveling through the buttocks and down the rest of the sciatic nerve within the legs.
Sciatica is actually a symptom of other underlying medical conditions. People often experience sciatica when a component within their lower back develops inflammation, which frequently ends up being the sciatic nerve.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is caused by several conditions. The two most common conditions include:
- A lumbar herniated disc: Occurs when the soft inner core of the discs leak or herniate (bulge) through its fibrous outer core. This irritates the contiguous nerve root. A herniated disc is also referred to as a ruptured disc or a pinched nerve.
- Degenerative disc disease: This natural process develops from aging, as the degenerated discs start degrading and irritating the nerve roots. The condition is diagnosed when a weakened disc makes too many excessive movements, exposing the proteins in this region and irritating the surrounding area.
Sciatica can also develop in people who have scar tissue (especially near the nerve roots), muscle strain, spinal tumors and infections. It can also affect pregnant women, since during pregnancy the expanding womb places increased pressure on their frame.
Most people experience mild pain from sciatica. Other individuals develop severe and/or debilitating pain. In most cases, sciatica develops on one side of the body. The pain there radiates or spreads from the lower back and down the back of thigh, later spreading down the leg.
The following symptoms often affect those who suffer from sciatica:
- Lower back pain and leg pain
- Constant pain on one side of the buttocks or legs
- Pain from the lower back or buttocks, usually along the sciatic nerve’s natural pathway
- Pain that worsens when standing and/or sitting
- Pain that feels sharp and searing.
- A pins and needles sensation, numbness, weakness and/or prickling sensation that runs down the legs.
Naturally, the symptoms experienced from sciatica differ from person to person. The type of symptoms that you experience from sciatica often depends on the condition that initially caused the sciatica to develop in the first place.
Most sciatica suffers do not require surgical intervention and can benefit from non-surgical treatments to control the pain and inflammation caused by sciatica. Heat/ice application and pain medications are often utilized in the treatment of sciatica. Reintroducing a regular exercise regime and physical therapy into the patient’s treatment plan can also to rehabilitate their affected limb(s) and the rest of their body.
Some patients however may need surgery or other alternative treatments to deal with the persistent pain and inflammation. Other sciatica treatment options may include:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Chiropractic/Manual Manipulation
- Massage Therapy
- Surgical intervention
Sciatica Treatment in Austin
At the Diagnostic Pain Center in Austin, we frequently see patients suffering from sciatica related symptoms. Through the use of careful diagnostic procedures and customized treatment programs, we have successfully treated numerous Austin patients suffering from this condition
If you would like to schedule a consultation with our providers to discuss Austin sciatica treatment, please give our office a call today at (512) 981-7246.