Also known as lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica is a condition that originates from your sciatic nerve, which is formed by the union of five nerve roots in the lower spine area.
Your sciatic nerve runs from the back of your pelvis, deep down in the buttock, and along the back of the thigh into the foot. Not only is your sciatic nerve the main nerve in your leg, but it’s also the largest nerve in your entire body and serves a critical function of connecting the spinal cord with the muscles in your leg, foot, and thigh.
When the sciatic nerve is irritated, inflamed, or compressed, it causes sciatica and can result in excruciating pain that can make it difficult to walk, sit, complete everyday tasks, or even sleep. At NJ Spine and Wellness, our compassionate spine specialists understand how debilitating this issue can be, and we’re here to help. We feature cutting-edge treatments and a team of committed doctors who can help you Get Better Faster.
Some of the most common symptoms of sciatica include lower back pain that radiates from your spine to your buttock and along the nerve pathway through the back of your leg; you may also feel discomfort anywhere along that pathway. Sciatica typically only impacts one side of the body. Sciatic leg and back pain can range from a dull, mild ache to sharp sensations that feel like burning; sciatica can also cause electric-like jolts or sudden shocks of pain. In more severe cases, there could also be numbness and weakness in the affected leg or foot. Contact an NJ Spine and Wellness sciatica specialist as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms.
In addition to a physical exam and reviewing your medical history, the sciatica specialists at NJ Spine and Wellness can perform tests to diagnose your condition, including:
X-ray: This type of imaging test can show any significant abnormalities on your spine
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This allows your doctor to see the sciatica nerve and surrounding tissues. Tumors, joint inflammation, and herniated discs can also be seen
Discogram: Contrast dye will be injected into your tissues to show bulging or herniation in the disc
Nerve conduction study and electromyography (NCS and EMG): Used to record and analyze electric activity and impulses in your muscles, NSC and EMG can determine the site of the injury.
When it comes to sciatica pain relief, the good news is that it typically heals on its own with the proper rest and time. Courses of treatment for sciatica include:
- Over the counter (OTC) medication like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines and other OTC pain relievers
- Heat or cold applied to the surrounding muscles
- Keeping the body in motion to reduce inflammation
- Osteopathic manipulation to reduce pressure on the nerve
- Surgery to repair the herniated or bulging disc
Immediately consult with an NJ Spine and Wellness sciatica specialist if you experience any of the following:
- Trouble controlling your bowels or bladder
- Severe, sudden pain, weakness, or muscle numbness in your leg
- The pain is a result of a traffic accident or other intense injury