Trapped sciatic nerve

A trapped sciatic nerve is one of the leading causes of lower back and leg pain, affecting a large number of adults at some point in their lifetimes.

A trapped, or pinched, sciatic nerve is often caused by a degenerative spine condition that has caused a disc or vertebra in the lumbar (lower) spine to move out of alignment and compress the sciatic nerve. Because the sciatic nerve travels a pathway from the lumbar spine to the foot, a pinched sciatic nerve can result in pain, numbness and tingling in the buttocks, leg and foot, as well as in the lower back.

Causes of a trapped sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve can become trapped in a number of ways, but it is often caused by the regular wear and tear of the spine that causes soft tissue and bone to degenerate.

Over the years, the intense pressure put on the lumbar spine in the lower back begins to slowly deteriorate and wear down the parts of the spine. As this pressure on the spine worsens, the discs that cushion the spine weaken, the facet joints that connect adjacent vertebrae can develop arthritis and the back muscles can weaken.

All of these issues can cause tissue — such as disc material or a bone spur — to impact the sciatic nerve. Likewise, the vertebrae can move closer together or bone spurs can develop and compress the sciatic nerve, leading to the development of painful symptoms.

Treatment for a trapped sciatic nerve

In many instances, sciatic pain can be managed with conservative nonsurgical treatments, including:

  • Heat therapy or cold therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Targeted exercises and stretching
  • Pain medication, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants
  • Limited rest
  • Hydrotherapy

However, for patients who continue to experience chronic sciatic pain after several months of conservative treatment, surgery can become an option. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, offering our patients a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication.

To find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our caring and dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review.*

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