Sciatica is well known for its hallmark symptom: severe pain that suddenly shoots down your leg. Ira Siegel, MD, and the pain management team at Pain Center of NJ have helped many patients overcome their sciatica pain and return to an active life with non-surgical treatments and minimally invasive interventional therapies. If you’re ready to get long-term relief from sciatica, call one of the offices in West Orange, Bayonne, Union City, Ridgefield, Edison, and Union, New Jersey, or schedule an appointment online today.
Sciatica Q & A
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica refers to the symptoms that occur when your sciatic nerve is pinched at the base of your spine. It’s one of the most common types of lower back pain, and it can be highly disabling.
An injury could lead to sciatica, but you’re more likely to develop the condition due to degenerative spine conditions such as:
Facet joint arthritis
Degenerative disc disease
Out of all these causes, a herniated disc is the most common, as it accounts for 90% of all cases of sciatica.
What symptoms develop due to sciatica?
Your sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in your body. They leave your lower spine and travel down both sides of your body, going through your buttocks and down each leg.
Sciatic nerve compression causes low back pain together with pain that radiates down one leg as it travels along the nerve. Though some people experience their leg pain as a moderate aching pain, most patients describe it as a severe, electric-shock pain that suddenly shoots down their leg.
Sciatica pain tends to be worse when lying down, so it often causes disturbed sleep. Certain positions can aggravate the pain of sciatica as well, such as sitting or bending forward. Even coughing can put pressure on your sciatic nerve and trigger lower back and leg pain.
A compressed sciatic nerve may also cause symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the affected leg. In a severe case, you can develop muscle weakness.
How is sciatica treated?
Sciatica generally responds well to physical therapies. Appropriate, gentle exercising improves circulation, which helps the damaged tissues to heal. Physical therapy also builds up strength and flexibility in the muscles and connective tissues surrounding your spine.
Some patients with sciatica find that the pain makes it difficult to exercise effectively. If this is the case, you might benefit from using anti-inflammatory pain medications to enable you to participate in your physical therapy program.
For persistent sciatica, Dr. Siegel offers epidural steroid injections containing a potent anti-inflammatory and a local anesthetic. These injections can be both effective and long-lasting. Steroid injections reduce inflammation, which relieves the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Steroids also slow down the production of inflammatory cells.
If you suffer from the excruciating pain of sciatica, Dr. Siegel and the team at Pain Center of NJ can help alleviate your pain and restore your ability to move and function. To schedule an appointment, call or book an appointment online.