Overview of the causes and treatments for sciatic nerve pain

Sciatic nerve pain is associated with a condition known as sciatica, or the irritation of the sciatic nerve. Most people who experience sciatica describe it as a pain that starts in the lower back region, continues through the buttocks to behind the thighs and radiates below the knee, making walking difficult, if not impossible. In most cases, sciatic nerve pain occurs in one side of the body, but it can occur in both legs.

Causes of sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and is formed from nerve roots of spinal nerves L3, L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3. These roots merge outside of the lower spinal column to form this huge nerve trunk. From there, the sciatic nerve continues through the buttocks and branches down the back of each leg until terminating in the feet.

There are a variety of spine conditions that can contribute to compression of the sciatic nerve, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bone spurs
  • Facet disease

Treatment options for sciatic nerve pain

If you are experiencing sciatica-like symptoms, consult with a doctor to develop an effective treatment plan. Acute pain associated with this condition sometimes goes away on its own, especially with the help of basic treatments such as rest, hot and cold therapy, exercise, medication and therapeutic massage. Doctors may also recommend a course of physical therapy and/or spinal injections if symptoms are severe. However, if your sciatic pain becomes severe or doesn’t improve with weeks or months of conservative options, surgical treatment may be indicated.

For patients considering surgery, a highly invasive traditional open spine surgery is no longer the only surgical treatment available. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedures that use muscle-sparing techniques that lead to a reduced risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

Contact us today for more information about how we can provide relief from sciatic nerve pain. Our caring team is happy to help you receive no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.