Causes of sciatica

Sciatica is the term used to refer to either a mild, dull or sharp pain that occurs along your sciatic nerve, a nerve that travels from your lower back to your leg. This condition occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, often from a degenerative spine condition or sudden injury.

The other symptoms associated with sciatica include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (medical emergency)

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica causes range from the most common cause, a herniated disc, to the rarest, a spinal or sciatic nerve tumor.

Your spinal vertebrae are cushioned by spongy discs, which, when healthy, act as shock absorbers when you move. Over time, these discs can deteriorate due to wear and tear, or they can become damaged, leading to a bulge or tear. A herniated disc causes sciatica by pressing on nerve roots, causing pain and symptoms beginning in the lower back and radiating down one leg.

Other sciatica causes include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

How do I treat sciatica?

Regardless of the cause of sciatica, the pain and symptoms usually respond to a series of conservative treatments. Your physician may begin treatments by recommending the following therapies:

  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Yoga and stretches
  • Weight loss
  • Low-impact exercises
  • Corticosteroid injections

If these treatments do not provide the pain relief you need after a few months, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain.

We believe that spine surgery should be a treatment our patients approach with peace of mind and confidence. That is why we offer procedures that reduce the risk of complication and infection and shorten the recovery time^ compared to traditional open back surgery. Depending on the cause of your sciatica pain, we may recommend a minimally invasive decompression surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Recommendations for a specific surgery are made after a physical evaluation in one of spine care clinics. Most of the causes of sciatica can be treated with a decompression surgery, though severe cases may require a stabilization procedure.

To see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team will review your MRI report or CT scan and help you take the next step on your journey to wellness.

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