The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve originates in a network of nerves in your lower back and runs down your leg. It is the longest and largest nerve in your body and, together with its branching nerves, is responsible for the movement and feeling in your entire leg – including your thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes. If you are experiencing lower back pain or radiating pain in your legs, a condition affecting your sciatic nerve may be the culprit.
If the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, injured or compressed, the group of potential symptoms that can result are often referred to as sciatica. While sciatica is not technically a condition itself – rather, it is just a term used to describe the symptoms related to sciatic nerve problems – it is still a potentially painful and debilitating issue to deal with. Sciatic symptoms can include intense back pain or leg pain, pain radiating down the legs, numbness, weakness and more. Together, these symptoms can quickly compromise your ability to sit, stand and walk comfortably, making it difficult to enjoy a normal, active lifestyle.
If your physician has diagnosed a condition related to the sciatic nerve as the root cause of your pain – whether due to a bulging disc, herniated disc or other spinal condition – there are a number of potential treatment methods to help ease your pain. Your physician will likely recommend that you begin by trying any of a variety of conservative treatment options, including rest, exercise, weight loss, physical therapy and more.
However, for some individuals, these conservative treatments simply aren’t enough to reduce pain from the sciatic nerve, and surgery becomes an option. If you are considering surgery to treat your sciatica pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures that are alternatives to traditional open neck and back surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons perform a variety of effective outpatient procedures that may be able to help you find relief from pain, whether it’s due to a problem with the sciatic nerve or a variety of other degenerative spine conditions.