What is Sciatica?
Sciatic nerve compression, known as sciatica, causes various symptoms, ranging from chronic lower back pain to numbness and tingling in the legs and feet. This condition is most commonly experienced in individuals nearing middle age and older because sciatica, like most degenerative spine conditions, is frequently caused by regular wear and tear of the anatomical components of the spine.
Sciatica is an all-encompassing term typically used to describe chronic leg pain that develops from the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar region of the spine. However, sciatica causes several other symptoms as well. When the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, the regular function of the nerve is compromised, and the muscles and muscle groups innervated by the nerve may be affected. As a result, sciatica can cause several symptoms, including:
- Local, chronic pain
- Pain that radiates along the nerve
- Unexpected muscle weakness
- Diminished reflexes
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- A feeling of pins and needles or extreme heat
Numerous sciatica causes vary from individual to individual. Most commonly, this condition results from nothing more than the natural aging process. As we grow older, the anatomical components of the spine – especially in the flexible lumbar region – gradually deteriorate due to years of regular use. Herniated intervertebral discs, arthritic vertebral joints, bone spurs, and vertebral misalignment can all occur, causing the sciatic nerve to become compressed. Additionally, a traumatic injury can lead to sciatica in some cases. If none of these common causes apply to you, there is still a chance you have developed sciatica. Other sciatica causes include:
- Herniated disc
- Bone spur
- Spinal stenosis
Treatment Options with BEST Health System
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health. While some patients may be able to find relief from conservative efforts such as physical therapy or injections for pain, others may be a candidate for surgery. At BEST Health System, we understand that everyone is unique, which is why we offer an array of treatments and surgeries to accommodate any patient.
Our new physical therapy clinic is excellent for patients to regain motion, improve balance, and gain strength. This is important when finding relief from any orthopaedic or spine condition. This clinic can also help post-op patients who require additional services.
Dr. Girton is BEST Health System’s spine surgeon specializing in minimally invasive operations. At BEST, we believe all patients deserve to find the surgery route that allows a speedy recovery and minimal scarring. If you are interested in learning more about minimally invasive spine surgery with Dr. Girton, contact BEST today.