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Spinal Recovery Center HELPS Sciatica patients!
Many people experience pain from Sciatica. The discomfort it causes you puts you can affect your quality of life. Spinal Recovery Center has helped thousands with Sciatica and we can help you!
Neuropathy - sciatic nerve; Sciatic nerve dysfunction Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.
How do I Know if I Have Sciatica?
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.
How is Sciatica Treated?
The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and chiropractic care. Occasionally, in cases where chronic spasm of the low back or piriformis muscles is causing the sciatic pain, it may be necessary to do a procedure called a trigger point injection, where a medical pain specialist injects a small amount of anesthetic directly into a spasmed muscle to break the spasm cycle. However, this is typically not necessary Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own.
Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors of Sciatica:
Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot.
Common causes of sciatica include:
• Slipped disk
• Piriformis syndrome (a pain disorder involving the narrow muscle in the buttocks)
• Pelvic injury or fracture
Sciatica pain can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. The pain most often occurs on one side. Some people have sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness in other parts. The pain or numbness may also be felt on the back of the calf or on the sole of the foot. The affected leg may feel weak. The pain often starts slowly.
Sciatica Pain May Get Worse:
• After standing or sitting
• At night
• When sneezing, coughing, or laughing
• When bending backwards or walking more than a few yards, especially if caused by spinal stenosis
Signs and Tests for Sciatica:
The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may show:
• Weakness of knee bending or foot movement
• Difficulty bending the foot inward or down
• Abnormal or weak reflexes
• Pain when lifting the leg straight up off the examining table
Tests are determined based upon the suspected causes. They are often not needed unless pain is severe or long lasting. They may include:
• Blood tests
• MRI's or other imaging tests
Treatment for Sciatica:
Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition, the underlying cause should be identified and treated. In some cases, no treatment is required and recovery occurs on its own. Conservative treatment is best in many cases. Your doctor may recommend the following steps to calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation:
• Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Try ice for the first 48 - 72 hours, then use heat after that.
• Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Bed rest is not recommended. Reduce your activity for the first couple of days. Then, slowly start your usual activities after that. Avoid heavy lifting or twisting of your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins. You should start exercising again after 2-3 weeks. This should include exercises to strengthen your abdomen and improve flexibility of your spine.
If taking care of your back pain at home yourself measures do not help, your doctor may recommend injections to reduce inflammation around the nerve. Other medicines may be prescribed to help reduce the stabbing pains associated with sciatica. Physical therapy exercises may also be recommended. Additional treatments depend on the condition that is causing the sciatica. Nerve pain is very difficult to treat. If you have ongoing problems with pain, you may want to see a neurologist or a pain specialist to ensure that you have access to the widest range of treatment options.
Expectations (prognosis) for Sciatica:
Often, sciatica will get better on its own. However, is it common for it to return.
Complications From Sciatica:
More serious complications depend on the cause of sciatica, they may include:
• Slipped disc
• Spinal stenosis
Know When to Call Your Health Care Provider:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
• Unexplained fever with back pain
• Back pain after a severe blow or fall
• Redness or swelling on the back or spine
• Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
• Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
• Burning with urination or blood in your urine
• Pain that is worse when you lie down, or awakens you at night
• Severe pain and you cannot get comfortable
• Loss of control of urine or stool (incontinence)
Also call if:
• You have been losing weight unintentionally
• You use steroids or intravenous drugs
• You have had back pain before but this episode is different and feels worse
• This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks
Prevention of Sciatica:
Prevention varies depending on the cause of the nerve damage. Avoid prolonged sitting or lying with pressure on the buttocks.