Sciatica Pain Management

Sciatica Pain Symptoms:

The classic sciatica symptom is pain that starts in the lower back and radiates (travels) to the buttock and down the back of the leg, possibly including the foot and toes. Sciatica pain symptoms may be felt anywhere along this path, but typically follow the path from the back to the buttock and back of the thigh or calf. Sciatica pain levels can vary from mild to severe and are usually described by sciatica pain doctors as shooting, burning in sensation, electric shock-like, as well as cramping sensations in the same pattern. Usually only one side is affected and the sciatica pain can worsen with prolonged sitting, bending, twisting and even coughing and sneezing. Sciatica pain symptoms also can be associated with numbness in the same distribution pattern. 

Animation: Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica)

Sciatica Pain Causes:

Sciatica refers to pain that stems from the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. Sciatica is not a disorder, but a pain symptom of another underlying problem, such as a spinal or neural foramina stenosis, a pinched/irritated nerve in the lower back or a herniated disc, and bone spurs and facet hypertrophy (overgrowth of bone or enlargement), causing narrowing of the opening where the nerve travels. On occasion, a tumor can be the cause of the underlying disorder by pressing on the sciatic nerve. This can be seen on an MRI. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage, causing the above sciatica pain symptoms.

Sciatica Risk Factors:

Health problems, lifestyle choices and genetic factors such as age and history of diabetes are all risk factors of sciatica. Occupations that require you to twist your back and carry heavy loads increase your risk of developing sciatica and may cause you to seek sciatica pain management from a clinic doctor.

Sciatica Testing:

By reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam and basic muscle tests at the clinic, your sciatica pain management doctor may be able to tell if and where you have sciatica. Your sciatica pain management doctor may do further imaging tests such as spinal X-rays, MRIs and CT scans if the sciatica pain is severe or lasts a long time.

Sciatica Pain Treatment Options:

There are a number of sciatica pain management options from your pain management doctor at the clinic that can help manage the painful symptoms of sciatica, which include:

At Advanced Pain Management, our sciatica pain management clinic doctors value the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. For those sciatica pain management treatments not offered by APM clinic doctors, we are able to refer you to other sciatica pain management clinic doctors.

Last reviewed July 2013 by APM's Medical Executive Committee.

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