Sciatica sidelines Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish

When Rangers’ pitcher Yu Darvish recently suffered tightness in his gluteus maximus, fans, commentators and even fellow players wondered what could cause the young player to experience pain in that area. As it was later confirmed, Darvish was experiencing sciatica, a set of symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve in the lower back becomes compressed.

Like many others — possibly even Darvish himself — you might be wondering why neural compression in the lower back would cause muscle tightness in the rear end. The answer is actually quite simple.

Causes of sciatica

Nerves transmit sensory and motor signals from the brain to the rest of the body. When a nerve becomes compressed, pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness can travel along the length of the nerve, causing symptoms to appear in seemingly unrelated areas of the body.

The sciatic nerve, the body’s largest and longest nerve, originates in the lower back and travels through the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. In Darvish’s case, a sciatic nerve root was pinched by an inflamed, misaligned or otherwise damaged portion of anatomy in the lumbar spine. Sciatica pain can be severe. Thankfully, a number of treatment options are available to provide relief.

Treatment for sciatica

Most people who experience sciatica are able to relieve their symptoms through conservative, nonsurgical treatment. Darvish, for instance, reports that an injection in his lower back (possibly a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation) helped relieve his symptoms so he could return to the mound. Other nonsurgical treatments for sciatica may include:

  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Physical therapy
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

If nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve your sciatica symptoms after a few months, surgery may be recommended to decompress the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica treatment at Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute, we successfully perform thousands of minimally invasive spine surgeries each year. Two of our minimally invasive procedures for sciatica include:
  • Discectomy — removes the herniated or bulging disc material that is pressing against the sciatic nerve
  • Foraminotomy — relieves pressure that is being placed on the sciatic nerve

The above procedures are just two of the minimally invasive decompression and stabilization options we offer at our regional centers throughout the United States. Some of the many benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures include the use of a small incision, muscle-sparing techniques that spread muscles without cutting and a reduced risk of infection.

If your doctor has recommended surgery for sciatica, we invite you to call a member of our Care Team today. We have helped more than 75,000 patients since 2005 and want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about surgery for sciatica. Call today for your MRI review and to see if you are a candidate for surgery at one of our centers.

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