Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve is pinched or under pressure, resulting in pain, weakness, burning or tingling sensations. In most patients with sciatica, the symptoms are localized to one side of the body, with pain or other sensations radiating from the lower back through one side of the buttocks and leg. Finding the source of nerve pressure can help determine the best options for treatment, especially for those with chronic sciatica pain.
Sciatica is not a condition, but it is a set of specific symptoms related to irritation of the sciatic nerve. It is estimated that only 5-10% of patients with lower back pain will also have sciatica symptoms. For many, conservative treatments for acute sciatica offer relief. When sciatica pain is chronic, lasting for several months or more, it is vital to find the source of nerve compression to determine the best treatment options. There are a few common causes of sciatica pain that can be explored when looking at treatment options.
Herniated Lumbar Disc
One of the most common causes of chronic sciatica pain is a herniated disc. A herniated lumbar disc can put pressure on the sciatic nerve root and results in chronic sciatica pain and other symptoms. Non-surgical options to relieve sciatica pain caused by a herniated disc may include anti-inflammatory injections and medications. Spinal cord stimulation could also be considered for long-term relief of chronic sciatica pain.
Inflammation surrounding the spinal joints in the lumbar region due to spinal osteoarthritis can cause sciatica symptoms. Osteoarthritis in the spine is not curable, but anti-inflammatory treatments can be used to reduce pressure on the nerve roots.
Narrowing of the lumbar spinal column may cause impingement on the sciatic nerves, causing chronic sciatica pain. Spinal lumbar decompression is a minimally-invasive approach to relieve pressure on nerves caused by spinal stenosis.
Muscle Spasms and Trigger Points
Not all causes of sciatica are in the spine. Muscle spasms and trigger points in the lower back, which can be caused by spinal conditions, can put pressure on the sciatic nerves. Trigger point injections help relieve sciatic symptoms in some cases.
It is impossible to determine what is causing chronic sciatica pain without performing a thorough examination. At Hanowell Spine Clinic, we perform the diagnostic testing needed to find the source of sciatica pain and create a treatment plan to offer relief. Contact us at our Monroe or Covington, GA, offices to schedule your appointment if you need relief from sciatica pain.