What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Some people are surprised to learn that there is actually more than one symptom of sciatica. While the term sciatica is often used casually to describe chronic leg pain, sciatica is defined as a set of symptoms that can develop as a result of the compression of the sciatic nerve. In other words, there are many different symptoms of sciatica, and to better understand why this is, it can be helpful to learn about what sciatica actually entails through the information provided in the following article.

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body. It originates from the base of the spinal canal in the lower back and extends downward through the buttocks, hips and legs before ending in the feet. This nerve is absolutely essential for facilitating movement. As a result, we rely heavily on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica occurs when this nerve becomes constricted, most commonly in the lumbar spine as the sciatic nerve branches off the spinal cord. Commonly, this condition can be traced to lower back injury or the presence of a degenerative spine condition such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis.

When sciatic nerve compression occurs, any number of symptoms can develop depending on the exact location, cause and severity of the problem. Common symptoms include lower back pain, chronic leg pain, muscle weakness in the lower body and numbness or tingling in the legs and feet. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is crucial to consult your doctor immediately to determine a treatment plan that works best for your specific condition.

Conservative sciatica treatments

For patients who have been diagnosed with sciatica, there are many available treatment options. The goal is to address the patient’s symptoms. Some common forms of sciatica treatment include:

  • Conservative methods like low-impact exercise, stretching techniques and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Complementary and alternative treatments like massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, chiropractic care and the use of natural supplements
  • Surgical intervention designed to decompress the sciatic nerve and/or stabilize the spine

Surgical sciatica treatments

At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in muscle-sparing procedures that are minimally invasive in nature. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and has a patient satisfaction score of 98 out of 100.^ If you have been diagnosed with sciatica and are currently exploring your treatment options, contact Laser Spine Institute.

Our highly skilled surgeons are able to use a small incision to access the spine and decompress affected nerves, thereby providing you with lasting relief from your symptoms. We’ll be glad to help you determine if you may be a candidate for our sciatica surgery by providing you with a free MRI review.* Reach out to us today so we can help you recapture your quality of life from this debilitating condition.

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