Have you experienced pains that seem like electric shocks going through your lower back and down one leg? Or numbness, tingling and weakness in the same region? You may be suffering from sciatica.
What is sciatica? Sciatica is the pain that develops when your sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed. The sciatic nerve is responsible for movement and feeling in the legs, buttocks, and lower back. Damage to the sciatic nerve may be manifested as leg pains, muscle cramping in the legs and lower back, back pain radiating down the leg, discomfort from sitting and standing for long periods of time; weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg; loss of mobility in the knee, ankle, or hip.
Your sciatic nerve may be pinched by a herniated, ruptured, or slipped disc in the lower spine; tight muscles in the buttocks, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), or spondylolisthesis (malalignment of spinal vertebrae).
The first line of treatment for sciatica is physical therapy, spinal injections, and pain medications. Only if conservative treatments does not resolve your sciatica symptoms will spinal surgery be considered. Surgical options would include a partial or complete removal of the bony plate of the spinal vertebra pressing against the sciatic nerve or a spinal fusion to prevent nerve damage and resolve sciatica symptoms.
Maintaining good posture, regular exercise, and proper nutrition will greatly decrease your chances of developing sciatica or prevent it from recurring after treatment.
Consult your doctor or a spine specialist if you are experiencing symptoms similar to those mentioned above and the symptoms are lasting longer than a few days. To confirm a diagnosis of sciatica, your doctor may need to order an MRI scan to evaluate the deep tissues.
The spine specialists of NewportCare Medical Group in Newport Beach, California, are highly trained in providing comprehensive care for all spine problems. Call us today to book an appointment.