Sciatica is a common condition that originates in your back, but leads to pain in other areas like your legs. Your sciatic nerve is the culprit behind this condition, and when it’s flared up, it can really mess with your life. But you don’t have to give up hope — there are home care treatments and professional treatments that can help.
The Delmarva Pain and Spine Center specializes in all kinds of disorders that cause pain, including sciatica. Dr. Shachi Patel is our pain management specialist who has the tools to help you kick your sciatica pain for good.
What is sciatica?
Your back is composed of a lot of different components, each with their own job. Your vertebrae are there to provide your body with stability and protect your spinal cord. The discs in between your vertebrae help to absorb shocks to your spine and limit damage.
There are also many muscles in your back that allow you to move as well. All of these work together so you can perform day-to-day tasks. But there is also a large nerve that sits in your lower back that can cause problems if you’re injured.
Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, and originates in your lower back. This nerve branches off from your back and extends down both of your hips and into both legs. Because this nerve is so large, it causes a lot of pain when something goes wrong with it.
Sciatica occurs when something puts excess pressure on your sciatic nerve. The compression of this nerve leads to many issues, including pain. There are several conditions that may lead to the compression of this nerve, including:
Typically, sciatica only affects one side of your body, but in rare cases, it can affect both. Sciatica is usually a temporary condition and mainly goes away on its own with self care. Sometimes, though, the condition is severe enough to warrant surgery.
Knowing the symptoms of this condition helps you quickly determine if sciatica is what you’re dealing with so you can get treatment as soon as possible.
Symptoms of sciatica
When your sciatic nerve is compressed, it can cause a variety of symptoms. Pain is usually one of the first signs of a problem with this nerve. The pain can be anywhere from mild to severe, depending on the severity of your condition.
However, there are other symptoms that you might experience besides pain. These symptoms usually only affect one side of your body, and may include signs like:
- Numbness in one leg or buttock
- Weakness in one leg or buttock
- Severe pain with movement
- Tingling feeling in your buttocks or legs
The symptoms may affect you from your lower back to your hips to your toes. Sciatica affects everyone differently, and depends on how much of your nerve is affected.
In severe cases, sciatica may lead to you losing control of your bladder or your bowels. If you experience this symptom, get help immediately, as this could be a sign of a more serious condition known as cauda equina syndrome.
Are there treatments that help?
If you’re suffering from sciatica, you might feel like the pain will never cease. However, in most cases, this condition does ease up after some home therapy. This may include things like rest and massage to ease some of the discomfort.
Sometimes, though, home treatments don’t always do the trick. This is where Dr. Patel can help. Sciatica can be treated with a number of different types of therapies, which Dr. Patel suggests based on your symptoms. Some of the alternative therapies she suggests include:
Sometimes, a mix of therapies like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are the best way to combat your pain. Once Dr. Patel determines that sciatica is what’s causing your symptoms, she determines the type of treatment that works best for you.
In severe cases of sciatica, conservative treatments might not do the trick to take away your pain. In this case, Dr. Patel recommends surgery to repair the condition that’s putting pressure on your nerve. This could include a laminectomy or microdiscectomy to help ease your symptoms.
Don't keep suffering from sciatic pain. Call our office today at 302-355-0900, or you can book an appointment with us online today.