Sciatica | Leg Pain
If you’ve been told that the leg pain and weakness disrupting your life is due to sciatica, you’re probably interested in finding more about what that means.
Sciatica isn’t a condition itself, but a term for the collection of painful symptoms that happen when the sciatic nerve is compressed. The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running from the base of the spine through the hips and down both legs. This is why one of the chief symptoms of sciatica is leg pain, and can severely affect your ability to do basic activities like walking or even sitting at your desk.
Sciatica symptoms and their causes
The painful symptoms described by people experiencing sciatica are usually located in the hips, buttocks, legs and can even travel all the way down to the toes. Local back pain is actually rare, even though that is usually where the sciatic nerve gets pinched. In most cases, the compression of the sciatic nerve will only affect one side of the body, although it is possible for both legs to be affected.
Sciatica related leg pain can consist of the following symptoms:
- Burning, shooting pain
- Muscle weakness
There are a variety of conditions that can cause compression of the sciatic nerve, including spinal stenosis, bone spurs, a bulging disc or herniated disc or other degenerative spine conditions. These problems usually develop due to the natural aging process, but traumatic injury can also cause the sciatic nerve to become pinched.
Possible treatments for sciatica, leg pain, and other symptoms
If you are experiencing difficulty related to sciatica, it’s likely your physician has suggested you try a course of conservative treatment options. For many, physical therapy, weight loss, exercise, rest, hot/cold therapy and other options are effective ways to treat sciatic symptoms.
However, for a small number of individuals, conservative treatment techniques fail to reduce their sciatic pain and other symptoms, and surgery becomes an option.
If this is the situation you’re faced with, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our skilled surgeons perform a variety of minimally invasive spine surgeries that reduce the risks and avoid the lengthy hospital stays that go with traditional open spine surgeries.
Some patients may be recommended for our minimally invasive decompression surgery, which removes a small piece of the damaged disc, joint or bone that is pressing against the sciatic nerve. For highly degenerative conditions requiring spinal fusion, we perform minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are a safer and more precise alternative to open fusions. Instead of the large incision and heavy metal hardware used in traditional spine fusion, our minimally invasive stabilization only requires a small incision and an artificial disc and/or bone grafts.
To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.