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Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain of the sciatic nerve, a nerve that originates in your lower back and travels down the back of your legs. It is the longest nerve in your body.

Typically, you feel sciatica in your lower back, hips, buttocks, and/or leg, and sometimes all the way down to your feet. The pain usually affects only one side of your body.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain that spreads from your lower back down into the back of your leg

  • Pain that amplifies when you sneeze, cough, sit, or straighten your leg

  • “Pins and needles” in your leg

  • Leg numbness

  • Leg weakness

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by pinching or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Many things can cause a pinched sciatic nerve, but most often it develops as a result of conditions or experiences such as:

  • Bone spurs

  • Herniated discs

  • Vertebra bone overgrowth (a bone spur)

  • Injuries that cause inflammation

  • Infections

  • Aging

Pregnant women may also sometimes develop sciatica from the pressure their expanding uterus places on the sciatic nerve. 

What treatments for sciatica are available?

To relieve chronic, pervasive, or extremely painful sciatica, you can turn to Legacy Brain & Spine for a range of treatment options. The treatment that our practice will recommend for you, after consultation and physical examination by our medical team, will depend on the underlying cause of your sciatic nerve pain, its location, and its severity.

Some of the treatment options that Legacy Brain & Spine provides include:

Epidural steroid injections (ESIs)

When an ESI is applied to your back, near the roots of your sciatic nerve, the area becomes less inflamed. For many patients, ESIs offer significant pain relief.

Personalized at-home exercise programs

To help you strengthen your lower back and leg muscles, and relieve stress that may be caused by pressure to your sciatic nerve, our highly skilled physiotherapists may design a personalized at-home exercise program, taking into consideration your range of motion and possible limitations. Such exercises often work best when done in conjunction with regular physical therapy.

Minimally invasive surgery

If you are suffering from severe sciatica that has lasted more than three months and is resistant to conservative treatment, our practice may consider and recommend a surgical intervention. 

During sciatica surgery, your operating team will decompress your nerve by removing the intruding tissue, typically a bone spur or herniated disc. To stabilize your spine, they may also perform lumbar fusion using the Globus ExcelsiusGPS® robotic surgery system.

If you are ready to banish sciatica from your life, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get help. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced spine specialists and let us restore you to a pain-free lifestyle.

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