Sciatica Overview

Sciatica is one of the most common causes of lower back and lower extremity pain. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve—the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve runs through lower back, buttock, thigh, and leg muscles. Symptoms usually only present on one side of the body.

  • Common causes of sciatica include:
  • Lumbar herniated disc(s)
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

Symptoms you should look for are:

  • sharp, radiating pain
  • burning
  • weakness
  • numbness and tingling
  • pain increases while sitting or standing

Sciatica can be hard to diagnose by yourself to determine its origin. The CONA Spine Team takes special precautions to ensure that your condition is properly diagnosed.


How is a Sciatica Treated?

Nonsurgical treatment options effectively treat the majority of cases of sciatica. Treatment options decrease nerve inflammation.

Common options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Prescription strength aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex, acetaminophen.
  • Physical Therapy. One of CONA’s onsite physical therapists
  • A CONA approved physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.
  • Bracing. A removable back brace.
  • Injections. An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

In cases where non-surgical treatments have not resolved the symptoms of sciatica, our Board- Certified and Fellowship- Trained Neurosurgeons may discuss the option of a surgical procedure. Unlike in years past, most spinal procedures can now be performed using a minimally invasive approach that requires only a small incision and significantly expedites recovery time.

Back surgery or spine surgery is suggested only when all other options have been exhausted. Pain may be relieved with non-surgical treatments– such as physical therapy, medication, bracing and lifestyle modification. Our Spine Center is dedicated to treating patients with the most effective course of treatment available.

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