3 Things You Need to Know About Sciatica

Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed from the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord into the lower back. The nerve branches then extend to the glutes, down to the back of the leg, ankle, and foot.

What causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can be caused by a number of things. The most common is a Lumbar herniated disc. When a disc is ruptured or bulging in the spine, it presses against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.  Other causes include Degenerative disc disease, Isthmic spondylolisthesis, Lumbar spinal stenosis, Piriformis syndrome, and Sacroilliac joint dysfunction.

What are the symptoms?

For some, Sciatica can be painful and debilitating, while for others, it may be episodic and infrequent and worsening over time.  Although the smartest and most effective way to determine whether one has Sciatica is to consult a medical professional, there are several symptoms one should look out for.

  1. Lower back pain and leg pain, with the leg pain being significantly more severe.
  2. Pain on one side of the leg/buttock, but rarely both sides.
  3. Pain that is alleviated when lying down or walking, but not sitting or standing.

How can It be treated?

There are a number of treatment options for Sciatica.  The vast majority of patients can be treated non-invasively and without surgery.  Depending on the individual, the cause of and the duration of the pain, there are surgeries to alleviate the pain and restore function. For lumbar disc herniations causing sciatica, a  Microdiscectomy, or a small minimally invasive procedure to remove the pressure from the pinched nerve can produce dramatic relief of pain.  For stenosis causing sciatica, an open or minimally invasive  Lumbar Laminectomy, or an open decompression can also provide significant relief of pain and return of function.

Atlantic Spine Specialists are board-certified professionals who are known for their dedication to excellence and healing. For more information on Sciatica, or to meet with one of their doctors, Dr. Carl P. Giordano or Dr. Richard S. Nachwalter, request a consultation or call our orthopedics office in Morristown, New Jersey at (973) 971-3500.