How to treat sciatic nerve pain

Sciatica is the name given to a collection of symptoms characterized by pain beginning in the low back or buttocks and radiating down the thigh as far as the lower leg and foot. The condition may occur on one side or both, depending on the location of the pinched nerve causing the sciatica pain.

Sciatica overview

The spine is primarily composed of vertebrae (small, stacked bones) and discs (cushions between the vertebrae). The vertebrae are responsible for supporting the body’s weight and allowing the body to move, while the discs are responsible for spacing the vertebrae so they can move and bend without impacting each other.

Over time, degenerative spine conditions can occur, causing damage to a disc or vertebra and moving the spine out of alignment. These common conditions, like a herniated disc, bulging disc or spinal stenosis, can lead to the compression of a nearby nerve root. When this happens in the lumbar spine (lower back) the sciatic nerve may be compressed, resulting in chronic, painful sciatica symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, localized pain and radiating pain.

The sciatic nerve is actually a collection of nerves arising from lumbar spinal nerves L3, L4 and L5, as well as sacral spinal nerves S1, S2 and S3. The nerve bundle known as the sciatic nerve divides into several medium-sized nerves at the knee. When this nerve is pinched, the pain travels from the top of the nerve root in the lower back to the bottom near the knee, sometimes even radiating farther down to the foot.

Treatment options

Some conservative treatment options, like chiropractic care and physical therapy, can provide effective relief from sciatica pain. However, if the pain is the same or worse after several months of conservative treatment, you should consult your physician about a surgery option to better reach the source of your sciatica.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several lumbar stabilization procedures to help treat degenerative spine conditions resulting in sciatica pain. Our minimally invasive procedures approach the spine through a small incision, decompress the sciatic nerve, and stabilize the spine without altering the surrounding muscles. For this reason, our procedures are safer and effective than traditional open back fusion, which requires the muscles around the spine to be torn and detached through a large incision.

For more information about the minimally invasive procedures used to treat sciatica, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team can review your MRI to determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgeries.