Delmarva Pain and Spine Center

Pain Management Physicians located in Newark, DE

Up to 40% of Americans experience sciatica at some point during their lives. Shachi Patel, MD, a double board-certified interventional pain management specialist, diagnoses sciatica and offers customized treatment at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center in Newark, Delaware. If you have low back pain and numbness or weakness in one or both of your legs, call Delmarva Pain and Spine Center or schedule a consultation online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a common but misunderstood condition. While many people think that sciatica refers to low back pain, it actually includes several disruptive symptoms caused by compression of your sciatic nerve, including:

  • Pain in your low back, buttocks, legs, or feet
  • Numbness 
  • Tingling or electrical sensations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Balance problems

Most patients have symptoms on one side of their body, although it is possible to have symptoms on both sides. 

Also, specific movements or positions could trigger your symptoms. For example, many patients find that sitting or lying down makes their pain worse whereas walking around alleviates the discomfort.  

What causes sciatica?

Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. Starting in your lumbar spine, your sciatic nerve splits and extends down both of your legs, ending just above your ankles. Compression anywhere along the nerve can trigger sciatica. 

A herniated disc in your lumbar spine is the most common cause of sciatica. There isn’t much surplus space in your spinal column, and a bulging disc can easily compress a nerve. Other causes include lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or a tumor. 

How is sciatica diagnosed?

At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, Dr. Patel provides comprehensive exams and testing to diagnose sciatica.

During your exam, she might ask you to perform specific stretches or do a few squats, which are known to compress the sciatic nerve. Dr. Patel might also order imaging studies like X-rays and MRIs as well as electromyography nerve conduction studies. 

How is sciatica treated?

Dr. Patel provides personalized, multimodal treatment plans to alleviate sciatica. Depending on your specific needs, she might recommend spinal steroid injections or oral anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant medication. Many patients also benefit from physical therapy and massage. 

Dr. Patel also offers nerve block injections to alleviate sciatica symptoms. In severe cases, you might need surgery like a laminectomy to repair the herniated disc or other issues causing your sciatica. 

If you have chronic sciatica, you might also benefit from counseling to learn mental and emotional techniques for coping with pain.

Call Delmarva Pain and Spine Center or make an appointment online today to learn more about your treatment options for sciatica. 

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Key Treatments We Offer & Conditions We Treat