Sciatica is a painful and frustrating spinal condition that is characterized by persistent pain that begins in the lower back and usually travels down one leg, and sometimes both legs. The good news is that sciatica pain can – with proper care – be controlled.
Let’s talk about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this common nerve-related problem, and where you can go to find a pain management doctor who can help you resolve your sciatica pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatic pain is due to the impingement (compression) and inflammation of the large sciatic nerve, which begins in the lower back and courses down the buttocks, legs, and ending in the feet. It tends to cause burning, stabbing, or shooting pain, and the sciatica pain may be constant or intermittent.
Sciatica pain often begins with:
- A traumatic injury to the back
- A herniated, or bulging, vertebral disc in the lumbar (low-back) spine that is pressing on the sciatic nerve
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bone spurs in the spine (related to age, osteoporosis, or arthritis)
- A spinal tumor
- Spinal stenosis (age-related narrowing of the spinal canal)
Additionally, some medical and lifestyle issues can precipitate sciatica symptoms. For instance, obesity places undue stress on the spinal vertebrae and their associated nerves, including the sciatic nerve. Diabetics tend to be more prone to developing sciatica and other nerve-related health issues, as are people who are in sedentary professions or who are not very active.
How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?
Your orthopedic doctor will first conduct a physical examination. The doctor may then order one or more tests to pinpoint the reasons for your pain, including:
- CT scan
- Electromyography (electrical nerve-response test)
From there, your physician will decide on a diagnosis. If you indeed have sciatica, the doctor will discuss the various treatment options with you.
What Does Sciatica Treatment Involve?
Treatment focuses on relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may benefit from:
- Physical therapy (heat therapy, cold therapy, and stretching exercises)
- Cortisone injections
- Anti-inflammatory prescription medication
- Losing weight
- Learning proper lifting techniques
- Being more active throughout the day and taking breaks
Experienced Spine Surgeon in Rochester Hills, MI
If you’re ready to take control of your sciatica pain, then it is in your best interest to have a consultation with Dr. Bradley Ahlgren. Dr. Ahlgren is our board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon and pain management expert, and he and his medical team will work to find workable treatments for your back pain – including sciatica and a whole host of chronic pain conditions related to the spine.
We have convenient offices in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Royal Oak. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, contact our friendly staff at Ahlgren Spine today by calling us at (248) 840-2035 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy a more pain-free lifestyle!