Sciatica from a herniated disc occurs when the sciatic nerve – the largest in the body – is compressed or pinched in the lower back. The soft, oval-shaped cushions of joint cartilage between the spinal vertebrae normally act as shock pads in the spine, but over time these cushions can bulge or become herniated. When this happens, material from the herniated disc may press upon the nearby nerve roots in the spine, including sciatic nerve roots, and cause pain and discomfort.
The term “sciatica” is used when a disc or other tissue applies pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in a variety of symptoms in the lower extremities, including:
- Pain or soreness in the lower half of the body, ranging from the buttocks to the back of the legs to the soles of the feet
- Muscle weakness in the leg
- A tingling sensation or numbness in the feet
- The feeling of pins and needles or burning
Should these symptoms be accompanied by extreme weakness or issues with incontinence, then there is a risk of cauda equina syndrome, a spinal condition that requires immediate medical attention. The best way to correctly diagnose sciatica is to visit a physician for a physical exam and MRI or CT scan. Treatment options for sciatica from a herniated disc range from bed rest and physical therapy to medication and lumbar injections. In the rare instance that a surgical treatment is necessary to alleviate the symptoms from the herniated disc, you have options. Traditionally, open back disc surgery has been used to address sciatica, but the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to address a herniated or bulging disc that is causing the sciatic nerve problem.
Contact Laser Spine Institute for a review of your MRI or CT scan and to learn about the state-of-the-art, outpatient procedures we can perform to treat your sciatica. You don’t need to live with pain and weakness. If other herniated disc treatments aren’t delivering the results you require, Laser Spine Institute is here to help.