Sciatic symptoms, commonly known by the term “sciatica,” occur when the sciatic nerve — the longest and largest nerve in your body — is damaged or compressed. When the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, very painful symptoms can occur, such as pain, numbness or muscle weakness in the lower back and legs. Sciatica symptoms can become debilitating if left untreated.
Causes of sciatica
The sciatic nerve originates in the lower spinal cord and runs down each leg to the foot. Due to the location of this nerve and the large area of the body that it innervates, sciatica can include a wide range of symptoms that may become very severe over time.
Potential causes of sciatic nerve compression include the following:
- Bone spur
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Other degenerative spine conditions
Symptoms of sciatica
Some of the most common sciatica symptoms include pain, radiating pain, weakness, tingling, numbness and other issues. These symptoms typically occur in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. Sciatic nerve pain is most often felt on only one side of the body.
At times, sciatica symptoms can make it very hard for you to sit, walk and get through your daily routine without discomfort.
Treatment for sciatica symptoms
Many people find that conservative, nonsurgical treatments help to reduce sciatica symptoms within several months. Some of the more common treatments for sciatica include the following:
- Alternating hot and cold therapy
- Exercise and stretching
However, some patients do not find pain relief with conservative treatment methods. In these cases, surgery may be recommended.
Minimally invasive surgery for sciatica
At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons specialize in relieving chronic sciatica symptoms with advanced surgical techniques. The minimally invasive spine surgery offers you a number of benefits and is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.
Some of the many benefits that you may experience when you choose to undergo minimally invasive surgery for sciatica include the following:
- Performed in an outpatient setting
- Use of a small incision
- Advanced techniques spread the muscles without cutting or tearing
- Reduced risk of infection
- Shorter recovery time^
Depending on the severity of your condition and sciatica compression, we may recommend that you undergo a minimally invasive decompression or stabilization surgery. Both procedures remove the pressure from the sciatic nerve to relieve your pain and symptoms. The difference between the two is that our decompression surgery only removes a small portion of a damaged disc or vertebra, while our stabilization surgery removes the entire disc or vertebra and replaces it with an artificial disc and bone graft.
Before you make an appointment for traditional open neck or back surgery, we invite you to learn more about the minimally invasive procedures offered at our center. At Laser Spine Institute, our goal is to always provide you with the highest level of care available. Contact us today to learn more about our procedures and to request a review of your MRI or CT scan.