Sciatica overview

Sciatica is a symptom of a lumbar spine (lower back) condition that compresses the sciatic nerve, which extends from your spinal cord to your feet. When a spine condition, such as bulging disc or herniated disc, compresses the sciatic nerve in the spine, pain can radiate from the lower back down to the feet. Patients with sciatica pain often describe a burning sensation in the buttock, leg, and/or hip on the impacted side of the body.

If you are experiencing sciatica pain, you should consult your physician to determine the cause of your nerve compression. Your physician might order an MRI test for you to determine the source of your pain and help decide the best treatment plan for your needs. If left untreated, sciatica pain can become debilitating and result in a decreased quality of life.

For more information about the causes and symptoms of sciatica, please take a moment to research our articles on sciatica pain. We believe that every patient should be given quality information about each spine condition so the patient can make informed decision about treatment. If you have any questions during your research, we encourage you to reach out to our Care Team for more information.

Common causes of sciatica

Because sciatica is a symptom of sciatic nerve compression in the lower back, there could be several causes of this pain. The two most common spine conditions that cause sciatica pain are bulging disc and herniated disc.
In addition to a bulging or torn disc, other causes of sciatica include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sciatic nerve tumor
  • Spinal tumors

An MRI report will accurately show the cause of your sciatica pain and will help your physician determine the best course of treatment for you. Depending on the severity of your condition, you might be recommended to begin with conservative treatment, such as physical therapy or stretches, or to undergo surgical treatment.

Treatment for sciatica pain

Many patients will begin to treat sciatica pain with conservative therapies. Conservative treatments include any type of treatment that is not surgery, and range from pain medication to exercise. The most common forms of conservative treatment for sciatica pain include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise and stretches
  • Yoga
  • Lifestyle adjustments, such as weight loss
  • Pain medication
  • Steroid epidurals

Most mild cases of sciatica pain will respond well to conservative therapies. However, if you have tried conservative treatment for several months and have found no lasting relief, it might be time to consider a surgical treatment option.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer two types of minimally invasive surgery to treat sciatica pain: minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures offer patients a safer and effective surgical alternative to traditional open back surgery.

During our minimally invasive decompression surgery, a portion of the bone or disc impacting the sciatica nerve would be removed through a small, 1-inch incision in the lower back. The procedure would not impact any surrounding muscles, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery.

For patients with severe spine conditions causing sciatica pain, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery may be necessary to help treat your condition. During our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the entire disc or bone that is impacting the sciatica nerve is removed through a small incision in the back. An implant is inserted in the now-empty space in the spine to offer immediate stabilization.

Each of our surgeries at Laser Spine Institute is performed as an outpatient procedure. Due to the minimally invasive nature of our procedures, most patients are up and walking within hours after surgery*. We also have a patient satisfaction score of 96 and patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^

For more information about the treatment options available for sciatica pain, contact our Care Team. We can help schedule your MRI review to determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.

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