Learn about the causes and best treatments for sciatica

Causes of sciatica can include sports-related injury, congenital defects, spinal tumors and other medical conditions. However, the natural aging process and the degenerative changes that often accompany it are most often to blame for compression of the sciatic nerve. Over time, the parts of the spine can deteriorate, misalign, calcify or become inflamed, which can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve.

At Laser Spine Institute we believe that knowledge is an essential part of the treatment process. If sciatica pain is putting you on the sidelines of your own life, learning more about the causes and treatment options for this condition can be helpful. By becoming a more informed and engaged patient, you can work more closely with your doctor and give yourself the best chance of finding lasting relief.

Degenerative spine conditions and sciatica

Some of the spinal conditions that are known causes of sciatica include:

  • Herniated discs. If an intervertebral disc ruptures, inner material can be pushed into the spinal column. The extruded disc material can compress the sciatic nerve, making this condition one of the common sciatica causes.
  • Bulging discs. In the case of a bulging disc, the outer shell of the affected intervertebral disc has weakened to the point that pressure from the surrounding vertebrae causes it to push out of its normal perimeter. A misshapen disc often leads to compression of the sciatic nerve.
  • Osteophytes. Also called a bone spur, an osteophyte is a smooth enlargement of the body’s natural bone structure. An arthritic spinal joint might develop an osteophyte in an effort to stabilize an arthritic spine. These growths can invade the spinal canal, potentially leading to sciatica.

Treatments for the causes of sciatica

Many patients who experience sciatica are able to find relief through basic conservative treatments. Medication, the use of ice packs and hot compresses, physical therapy, core-strengthening exercises and lifestyle changes are all examples of conservative treatments. People who find little to no relief from conservative treatment might be advised to consider surgery. Often these are highly invasive procedures that can result in lengthy recovery times.

As an alternative to traditional open back surgery, Laser Spine Institute and our team of board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that can treat the causes of sciatica at the source. Our procedures involve a less than 1-inch incision, a streamlined outpatient experience and less disruption to supporting muscles compared to traditional spine surgery.

To learn more, and find out if you are a potential candidate, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review.*

Browse Related Resources