What is sciatica?
Sciatica is also known as lumbar radiculopathy. The pain originates along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the thigh. The sciatic nerve is the main nerve of the leg and the largest nerve in the body.
Though doctors don’t always know what causes sciatica, some causes include:
- Spinal stenosis, a herniated disk in the spine that presses on the sciatic nerve
- Poor posture
- Tumor or abscess
- Blood clot
- Awkward sitting position
- Nerve disorders
Why choose LVHN for sciatica treatment?
When you come to LVHN, you will find:
- Expert diagnosis: Sciatica symptoms can resemble symptoms of other health conditions, making it challenging to get an accurate diagnosis. We use the latest diagnostic technology to find the source of the pain and develop an effective treatment plan.
- Full range of treatments: We offer many options for sciatica relief. Our advanced spine specialists discuss your options with you and determine the best way to move forward, considering your symptoms, lifestyle, preferences and overall health.
- Expert follow-up care: We typically start with conservative treatments, such as chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, physiatry and pain management. We closely monitor your response to determine if they are working or if we need to consider other treatments, such as surgery.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Sharp, shooting pain that runs from the buttock down the leg
- Pain that ranges from mild tingling or ache to severe pain
- Pain that is worse at night
- Pain that worsens with long stretches of standing or sitting
- Lower back pain
- Numbness and weakness, in severe cases
We begin the diagnosis with a medical history and physical examination. Other diagnostic tests may include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A large magnet and radio waves produce detailed images of the body.
- X-ray: An X-ray provides detailed pictures of internal tissues, bones and organs.
- Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS): We conduct these two procedures together to record and analyze your muscle’s electrical impulses. We place thin needles in the muscle to record electrical activity (EMG). Then we place electrodes in different locations on the skin along the nerve pathway (NCS). We stimulate the nerve in various places to determine the site of the injury.
After confirming a diagnosis, we discuss your treatment options with you. Nonsurgical treatment methods include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Heat or cold applications to the sore muscles
- Movement, to keep your body in motion to reduce inflammation
- Chiropractic medicine, where trained practitioners manipulate the body to provide pain relief and release tight muscles
If these methods do not provide sufficient relief, you may be a candidate for surgery. Typically, the surgery is to repair a herniated disk that is causing the pain. Learn more about herniated disk surgery.