An inflamed sciatic nerve is a condition that often occurs as a result of spine deterioration and is most commonly exhibited in older patients. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or impinged, regular nerve function is interfered with, which can lead to a variety of symptoms – often referred to collectively as sciatica. Sciatica most frequently accompanies the natural aging process, but can also be traced to traumatic injury and other spinal disorders. Treatment options vary, but in most cases, a simple course of conservative, non-surgical techniques sufficiently alleviate sciatic pain.
Symptoms of an inflamed sciatic nerve
Normally, the sciatic nerve is integral in facilitating the free flow of information between the brain and the lower half of the body. This nerve innervates numerous muscle groups and is actually the longest nerve in the body. In the event that the regular function of this nerve is interfered with, a number of symptoms can result, depending on the source and location of the compression. Some of the most common symptoms of an inflamed sciatic nerve include:
- Local, chronic lower back pain
- Pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve or focuses at a point along the nerve
- Unexpected muscle weakness in the thigh, knee or hamstring
- Numbness or tingling in the feet
- The sensation of burning or pins-and-needles
- Diminished reflexes or motor function
The inflammation of the sciatic nerve in the spinal column can come from a variety of sources, such as herniated discs or bulging discs, arthritic vertebral joints and other types of osteoarthritis, the formation of osteophytes (bone spurs) or collapsed discs that have allowed the vertebrae to shift too close together.
An inflamed sciatic nerve can be very painful, but most patients respond to conservative, non-surgical treatment. If a person has been diagnosed with an inflamed or trapped sciatic nerve, a combination of physical therapy, heat therapy, pain medication, chiropractics and limited rest usually provides sufficient pain relief.
In the event that your pain persists through several weeks of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive spine procedures may be able to help you find relief from back pain.