Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by compression of one of the two sciatic nerves. This compression creates inflammation in the nerve, causing pain and discomfort. This condition is quite a common reason for leg pain pain and lower back pain.
Connected from the spine base, down to both legs and with the width of about an inch, the sciatic nerve is the longest and biggest nerve in the human body. In many cases, the nerve’s compression is caused by a herniated disc, often in the lower back region.
The symptoms could cause weakness and pain that can be felt anywhere along the entire length of the sciatic nerve. This condition can be experienced anywhere on the lower back area, all the way down to the feet. Sciatica can be felt throughout the lower body in various types, which includes:
- Burning sensation
- Pain in feet soles
- Pain caused by coughing or sneezing
- Constant change in sensation
- Weak muscles
- Pain that lasts for a long period
In order to diagnose sciatica, patients have to go through rigorous physical tests that includes muscle strength and flexibility tests. Burak Ozgur, MD may also require tests like X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans to find out the exact area in the spine affected by the sciatic nerve compression.
- X-rays – Although they only visualize bones, X-rays can help determine if you have spinal stenosis. X-rays will show aging changes, like loss of disk height or bone spurs. X-rays taken while you lean forward and backward can show “instability” in your joints. X-rays can also show too much mobility, called spondylolisthesis.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – This study can create better images of soft tissues, such as muscles, disks, nerves, and the spinal cord.
- Computed tomography (CT) – CT scans can create cross-section images of your spine.
Sciatica is a condition that normally heals on its own after a few days of rest. If simple resting does not work, sciatica is usually treated with non-surgical and conservative treatment procedures, unless it lasts for a long period of time or if it becomes very severe. It does not usually take long before patients could return to their normal physical activities once the inflammation in the sciatic nerve has reduced.
Conservative types of treatment includes a lot of rest, medication, injections and physical therapy. However, in more severe cases, doctors may recommend minimally invasive spine surgery.
Without proper treatment, some very serious sciatica cases can cause partial paralysis in either sides of the body or can possibly affect both left and right sides.
Burak Ozgur, MD can address sciatica with minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.