Causes and treatments of sciatica problems in the spine

Sciatica is a term used to describe problems or symptoms that develop due to compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve begins in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine and extends all the way down to the back of one’s leg. Because this nerve delivers sensory and motor function to your buttocks, hip joints, legs and feet, any stress that it experiences can be felt in the areas it impacts. Read on to learn more about the causes of sciatica problems as well as methods to finding relief.

Source of sciatica problems

Sciatica problems can be caused by any of the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease. Herniated or bulging discs in the spine can affect the sciatic nerve or the spinal cord itself.
  • Facet disease. When the cartilage that surrounds facet joints wears away, bone spurs can form in the joint spaces and cause sciatic nerve compression.
  • Spondylolisthesis. A vertebra can slip forward over an adjacent vertebra because of trauma, hereditary factors or degeneration.
  • Tumors. While rare, both benign and malignant spinal tumors can cause neural compression.
  • Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle is a flat muscle in the hip that is connected to the sacrum and the femur. If it becomes swollen, stretched or spasmodic, it can irritate the sciatic nerve.

Finding relief from sciatica problems

After confirming a diagnosis of sciatica, usually with a full physical examination and medical imaging, your doctor will most likely suggest a conservative treatment plan, including pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic visits or steroid injections. However, if you develop chronic sciatica, your doctor might recommend surgery if conservative therapies fail to provide you with relief after several weeks or months.

If this is the case for you, keep in mind that there are other options besides highly invasive open spine operations, such as the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery.^ Contact us today so we can help you on your journey to wellness.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our board-certified surgeons+ use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less bleeding and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional surgery.^

To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team and ask for your no-cost MRI review.*

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