Recognizing a compressed sciatic nerve

A compressed sciatic nerve can be one of the most frustrating and even puzzling physical conditions you will ever experience because the symptoms often manifest themselves in parts of the body that you would not automatically associate with a problem in the lower back. Yet, this is often the case because it is the largest and longest nerve in the body.

The sciatic nerve begins at the top of the lumbar region of the spine in the lower back, which is susceptible to a great deal of wear. Therefore, deteriorating parts of the spine threaten to produce spinal instability, which can lead to a compressed sciatic nerve. To learn about how to diagnose this debilitating condition and methods to treat your pain and discomfort, read the following article.

Diagnosing sciatica

The symptoms of a compressed sciatic nerve are called sciatica and include the following:

  • A sharp pain in the lower back
  • Pain that radiates or shoots down the buttocks and into the leg
  • Tingling or numbness in the lower extremities, including the feet and toes
  • Muscle weakness in the lower extremities

If you are in your 30s or older and you go to a doctor and describe these symptoms, they will almost certainly suspect you are experiencing sciatica. Range of motion tests, X-rays or other medical imaging tests and a review of you and your family’s medical history should provide more clues. In fact, an MRI or CT scan usually can reveal if a herniated disc, bulging disc or spinal bone spur is the culprit, at which point your doctor can suggest a course of treatment.

Treating a compressed sciatic nerve

Treatment for sciatica often begins with conservative methods, such as low-impact exercise and stretching to improve strength and flexibility, pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs, hot/cold applications and occasional periods of rest. However, if these and other conservative methods prove ineffective in treating your pain and symptoms after several weeks or months, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery in the form of minimally invasive spine surgery.^

Our surgeons have perfected a variety of decompression and stabilization procedures that can relieve the effects of sciatic nerve compression related to a degenerative spine condition. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients regain their quality of life from chronic back pain. Reach out to our team to learn more and ask for a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our outpatient surgery.