Sciatica is back pain that extends down into your hip, buttock, and leg. It usually affects one side of your body, but can occasionally affect both sides. Sciatica is a symptom of pressure on your sciatic nerve, which branches in two from your lower back and down each leg.
The most likely reason to get sciatica is a herniated disc. The outer shell of the spongy discs between your vertebrae can weaken over time, allowing the softer core to bulge or protrude and make contact with the spinal nerves.
If a herniated disc is in your lumbar (lower) spine, it can lead to sciatica.
Sciatica symptoms are distinctive, although it's possible to confuse them with conditions like piriformis syndrome, which cause similar effects.
Sciatica pain is typically sharp or burning, radiating from your lower back and hip down the back of your thigh. The pain might extend all the way to your foot, following the path of the sciatic nerve.
The pain is likely to be worse when you're moving, and severe when you cough or sneeze. The affected leg might feel weak or numb and develop burning, tingling, or "pins and needles" sensations.
To confirm sciatica, your provider at Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine conducts a physical exam to find the nerve root causing your pain, followed by diagnostic imaging tests.
Often, sciatica clears up within a few weeks without requiring specialist treatment. Resting and gentle stretching exercises can help, and you might find hot and cold compresses, muscle relaxants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help to ease the pain.
If your sciatica pain continues or worsens, the Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine team can put you on a physical therapy program. They might also give you an epidural steroid injection to reduce pain and inflammation.
If after three months your sciatica still isn't improving and you're experiencing severe pain and disability, your provider might suggest surgery.
The orthopaedic surgeons at Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine use the most advanced, minimally invasive procedures they can to repair or remove the herniated disc causing your symptoms and relieve your sciatica pain.
Forms of surgery that can help your sciatica include:
For effective treatments of sciatica pain, call Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.