Sciatica: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Sciatica is a name specified to the pain caused due to the decompression of sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve is the longest nerve that runs from the lower back down to feet. Any sort of pressure or irritation to this nerve may result in sciatica.

Causes and risk factors

  • Herniated disc: According to the orthopedic doctors in Frisco, Texas, people with herniated intervertebral disc are more susceptible to sciatica.
  • Osteophytes: Osteophytes are the painless bone spurs that get developed on the edges of joints. The constant rubbing of these bone spurs may cause decompression on sciatic nerve resulting sciatica.
  • Piriformis syndrome: This syndrome causes the piriformis muscles to swell and become tight which may further lead to sciatica.
  • Lumbar spinal canal stenosis: It is medically proven that people with narrow lumbar spinal canal are more likely to experience sciatica.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from sciatica.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This condition is caused when the vertebra slides onto other. It further distorts the spinal canal resulting in sciatica.
  • Other causes: It is believed that people with weaker bones or a history of back injuries are more prone to causing sciatica.

Symptoms:

It is advisable to consult a spine doctor if the following symptoms are noticed:

  • Intense pain around the spine
  • Stiffness and tenderness
  • Sharp pain in the neck
  • Lower or upper back pain
  • Discomfort in lifting heavy objects
  • Inability to perform day-to-day activities
  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle spasm in lower area of back
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Weakness in arms and legs
  • Pain while you cough
  • Sometimes, sciatica may also be accompanied by fever and other infections.

Diagnosis:
First of all the doctors will perform physical examination and conduct imaging tests like X-ray and MRI to evaluate the exact cause of the symptoms. They may also conduct nerve conduction studies to determine the damage to the nerve.

Treatment:

  • Medications: The spine doctors in Frisco may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Injections: Epidural steroid injections (ESI) may be considered by the doctors. Steroids are injected through ESI into the epidural space to relive inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy: The doctors may also recommend a range of stretching exercises to regain the muscle flexibility and alleviate the symptoms.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be considered in severe cases of sciatica. Microdiscectomy and lumbar laminectomy are the most common surgical treatments for sciatica.

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