At Frisco Spine, we offer surgical and non-surgical treatments for spinal conditions and back pain. This includes issues such as sciatica, which affects the health of your lower back and can have a negative impact on your quality of life.
Let’s go over the basics of sciatica right now and note various treatment and prevention options to consider.
The largest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve runs along both sides of the lower back, down the buttocks, and into the thigh down to the foot.
Sciatica refers to a condition in which the sciatic nerve is compressed by the spine in some way, resulting in problems with the lower extremities. Generally just one side of the body is affected.
Causes of Sciatica
In many cases, sciatica is the result of a herniated disc in the lower back or a bone spur that grows from the vertebrae. In rare cases, sciatica is the result of a tumor or cancerous growth in the lower back.
Signs and Symptoms of Sciatica
The most common signs and symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain along the lower back into the leg
- Numbness along the nerve area
- Tingling along the nerve area
- Weakness in the affected leg
In extreme cases of sciatica, patients may experience problems controlling their bowels or their bladder.
Risk Factors for Sciatica
Some of the common risk factors for sciatica include the following:
- Advanced age
- Jobs involving heavy lifting
- Jobs involving stress on the lower back
Treatment Options for Sciatica
There are many treatments for sciatica to consider. Common non-surgical procedures include:
The Use of Medications – Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful for managing the symptoms of sciatica
Hot and Cold Packs – The use of hot packs and cold packs can help reduce pain and soreness in the lower back and legs
Physical Therapy – Physical therapy will help strengthen the muscles of the lower back and improve posture and mobility in the process
Back and Core Exercises/Stretches – Various stretches and core exercises can be used to improve mobility, relieve pain, and potentially prevent discomfort of the lower back as well
Steroid Injections – Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation around the sciatic nerve, reducing pain for a few months in the process
Surgery for sciatica is generally reserved for cases in which non-surgical procedures prove ineffective and patients suffer from significant weakness in the lower extremities. The surgery will generally involve removal of bone spurs or other structures that are compressing the sciatic nerve. Ideally, we will want to try all non-surgical treatment options before attempting surgery.
Can anything be done to prevent sciatica?
There are a few things you can do to prevent sciatica from occurring:
- Exercise regularly
- Strengthen your core
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain good posture
- Be careful when lifting heavy objects
For more information about sciatica and how it can be treated, it’s important that you contact our spinal surgery and back pain specialists today. The entire team at Frisco Spine will work closely with you to restore health and wellness and improve your mobility in the process.