Sciatic nerve location
The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and travels down through the hips, legs and feet. It starts as spinal nerves in the lower (lumbar) spine. After exiting the spine through foramina, which are the openings between the vertebrae, a group of nerve fibers all merge into a single nerve on each side of the body directly in front of the piriformis muscle — one of the main muscles connecting the pelvis to the upper leg. This nerve, which is called the sciatic nerve, extends down through the lower extremities.
Sometimes, the sciatic nerve, or one of its nerve roots in the lumbar spine, can become compressed as a result of spinal degeneration or a traumatic injury. This can cause a group of symptoms known as sciatica. Sciatic nerve pain usually extends down the path of the nerve, with noticeable discomfort appearing in the hips, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet. Muscle weakness, numbness and tingling in these areas can occur as well. Through the following article, you will learn about the conservative and surgical treatments available to relieve the symptoms associated with this debilitating condition.
Conservative sciatica treatment
Depending on what is causing a person’s sciatic nerve pain, it may be possible to address his or her sciatica symptoms with conservative treatments. For instance, over-the-counter medications can help alleviate pain and inflammation, while stretching exercises can help improve muscle strength and range of motion. Other conservative treatment options include hot and cold compresses, physical therapy, chiropractic care and weight management.
Surgical sciatica treatment
Conservative therapies often provide significant symptom relief, but their effects are temporary. Unlike nonsurgical treatments, surgery can actually address the cause of the patient’s sciatica, such as a herniated disc or bone spur that is pressing against a root of the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, open spine surgery is needed to achieve this, but there are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery in the form of the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute.
At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ can help address a variety of spinal conditions using procedures that require a less than 1-inch incision. This translates to less surgical blood loss, a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of infection when compared to traditional open spine operations.^ To learn more about our available treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute today.
Our team has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back procedures since 2005, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. To relieve sciatica, our highly skilled surgeons perform a discectomy, foraminotomy or laminotomy to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, in order to relieve symptoms associated with this condition. To find out if you’re a potential candidate for our outpatient sciatica surgery, reach out to us today for a free MRI review.*