What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a word that medical professionals used to describe the symptoms of severe pain that are caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The largest nerve, it controls a few muscles in the lower legs and gives sensation to the skin and foot. Sciatic pain is usually felt in the lower back, buttocks and legs and is a common occurrence for many people. The pain starts when the nerve becomes compressed. The most common cause is a herniated disk, but a bone spur can also trigger it.
If you begin to feel shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve that starts in the lower back, buttocks and down the back or outside of either leg, it may be caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may also feel numbness and tingling along the leg and in the feet. The pain can be extremely severe or quite mild and worsen after you have sat for long periods of time.
If you have any of the above symptoms, we recommend that you get a complete diagnosis in order to receive the correct treatment. Some of the questions our specialist may ask are:
- Do you have back pain?
- Do you have numbness in your feet or legs?
- Do your legs feel weak?
- Do you sit for long periods of time?
- How much exercise do you get?
- Do you do strenuous work?
In order to assess the severity of your symptoms, our specialist may ask you to do a few simple exercises such as walking on your toes and heels, rising from a squat and raising one leg at a time while lying on your back.
Once it is clear that your pain is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, several treatments may be recommended. Over-the-counter painkillers help some people but not everyone. We may recommend prescription muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories.
Physical therapy may help some people with exercises that take the pressure off of the nerve. These may include strengthening muscles that support your back, correcting your posture and increasing flexibility. If necessary, we can give steroid injections at the spot of the pressure to relieve severe pain. This will last for a few months but is considered a temporary treatment. Only after trying all of the above will surgery even be considered. Our surgeon may remove the bone spur or part of the disk that is causing the pressure on the nerve.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
To learn more about sciatica, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with the office of Craig C. Callewart, MD PA. At our convenient locations in Dallas and Addison, our caring and devoted team of professionals will be happy to explain this condition in full and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!