Sciatica- What Is It and How Is It Treated?
Sciatica is exceedingly painful and can cause limited mobility. Anyone who has suffered from sciatica understands that it needs to be treated properly – and quickly – to relieve the pain and return the patient to their normal lifestyle.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerves extend from the lower lumbar region of your spine down through each leg and into the foot. These nerves are the largest in the human body, and when one becomes compressed or irritated, the condition is known as sciatica.
Sciatica can include a range of symptoms, ranging from pain to tingling to numbness, rendering a patient unable to walk or even stand upright without extensive pain. Sciatica is not a condition itself, but, rather, it is the result of other conditions. The exact cause can include a variety of lower back issues, including:
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative spine disease (osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease)
- Lower back or pelvic injuries
Pain from sciatica can occur in the buttocks, legs and even the feet. Left untreated, sciatica pain can devolve into tingling and numbness, with a major impact on the patient.
How Does Sciatica Affect the Patient?
Sciatica can start with an aggravating pain in the low back or buttocks area. As the symptoms accelerate, the problem can continue down the leg and into the foot. Sciatica will usually affect only one side of the body. As things deteriorate, the pain can turn into tingling, a pins-and-needles effect and even into complete numbness. If the sciatic nerve is compressed for too long, the damage can cause long-term or even permanent damage.
In addition to the high pain sciatica causes, it can also interfere with the use of the affected leg, causing a limp, difficulty sitting or walking and trouble maintaining the daily activities of life. In addition, sciatica pain can lead to problems with depression if left untreated, as chronic pain causes a patient to cut things out of their life.
How Can Sciatica Be Treated?
Treatment for sciatica often begins with imaging and diagnostic tests to determine what is causing the nerve impingement. Once the source has been determined, a treatment plan is decided on by the doctor and the patient. While it is possible for physical therapy or exercise consisting of stretching, low-impact aerobic exercise and strength training combined with short-term pain medication to provide relief from sciatica, the only way to get a clear plan of action is by consulting a spinal specialist or orthopedic surgeon for an expert opinion.
Where Can I Go for Sciatica Treatment?
Finding a qualified medical treatment team for sciatica is critical. Because treatment can include spinal surgery, you need a health care team with board-certified surgeons and orthopedic specialists who are experienced in spinal surgery and nerve health.
At DOCS Health, we are physician-owned and operated with a state-of-the-art surgery center, and we offer the option of staying in our Recovery unit after your procedure. Having our own surgical center allows our physicians the option to maintain innovative technology and equipment for our patients, so they receive the very best in orthopedic and spinal health care.
We invite you to experience the difference at DOCS Health in Los Angeles, where orthopedic care and spine health reach a whole new level of expert care. Our expansive, highly-qualified team of spine care specialists, orthopedic surgeons and medical staff work together to bring you superior health care, the latest technology and the safest possible environment for your health care needs. Find out if our team is right for you by scheduling a consultation with one of our sciatica specialists today.
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