You’ve likely heard of sciatica before — a friend can’t make it out because his sciatica is acting up. Or a family member is stuck on the couch because of a painful and immobilizing sciatica flare-up. And, now, you suspect it’s your turn.
Sciatica affects up to 40% of people, so the condition certainly represents a clear and present danger for most anyone.
To get to the bottom of your lower back pain, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management pulled together a sciatica checklist. We start with the telltale symptoms of sciatica, and then we move on to what you should do next.
Sciatic nerve — it’s a big one
To understand how sciatica can affect you, it’s important to have a clear picture of what’s involved, chiefly your sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest in your body, and it forms in your lower back.
There are pairs of nerve roots that exit all along the length of your spine, and your sciatic nerve is composed of two lumbar nerve roots and three sacral nerve roots. These nerve fibers come together to form the sciatic nerve in your lower back, which then branches into two sections that travel down each of your legs, all the way to your feet.
Signs your sciatic nerve is compressed
If there’s something in your lumbar spine, often a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, that’s pressing against your sciatic nerve, the symptoms can be hard to miss and may include:
- Pain in your lower back that can flare with certain movements, such as sneezing or lifting one leg
- Pain that extends down one side of your buttocks and into your legs
- Numbness and tingling that travels down one side of your lower extremities
- Weakness on one side (that can lead to foot drop)
While your sciatic nerve is responsible for sensory functions, it also handles certain motor functions. So, if the compression is severe, you can lose bladder function, though this isn’t all that common.
Getting help for your sciatica
The discomfort that can accompany sciatica is pretty hard to ignore, so coming to see us for a full evaluation is a good idea. After testing the extent of the nerve involvement, we can prescribe a treatment plan to relieve the nerve compression and your symptoms. This plan might include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Targeted stretching exercises
- Nerve blocks
- Epidural injections
Between these treatments, as well as rest and time, we can get you moving around again without pain and other symptoms following your every step
To figure out what’s best for your sciatica, please contact one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, to schedule an appointment.