Sciatic nerve pain can be disabling. The excruciating pain can prevent you from even getting out of your bed. The pain results from several issues including spinal trauma and tumors. Spine expert Dr. Evan O’Brien and his team offer patient-centered care to their various patients affected by spinal concerns, including sciatica in Woodbury. These professionals know that in order to understand and solve sciatic nerve pain, you have to know its exact cause. Sciatica’s radiating pain that travels from your buttocks down to your legs can either be mild or chronic, lasting much longer than it should. In some cases, the pain may result in numbness and muscle weakness, affecting your mobility.
What do you need to know about sciatica?
Sciatica is not a condition. Rather, it describes a symptom resulting from other health concerns in your lower back. Sciatica happens when something like a herniated disc irritates, inflames, or compresses your sciatic nerve or either of your nerve roots that eventually form the sciatic nerve. As a result, you might feel pain that radiates up and down your affected leg, especially from your buttocks down to your ankle. The pain you are likely to feel from the compression can be sharp, dull, or have a burning sensation. You may also feel intermittent shocks of instant shooting pains in your lower back and down the affected leg.
Also referred to as sciatic neuropathy, the radiating pain can either be intense or mild, depending on its severity. However, you are likely to worsen the pain with movements such as coughing, bending, or twisting. Relief from sciatica can take approximately six weeks depending on your treatment, though you may still experience weakness and numbness in your leg. However, your doctor may recommend advanced treatment when you have chronic sciatica that fails to resolve with treatment. The only way to rid you of sciatica is to know its root causes through a diagnosis from your doctor.
What are the common causes of sciatica?
- Herniated disc or Lumbar bulging disc
Your spinal discs serve several functions including transferring the weight you exert on your spine through to the discs. A bulge or a herniation is common in your lower back and the compression against a nerve root may result in sciatica. Disc herniation is even worse. Not only does it compress your nerve, but it also contains hyaluronic acid (chemical irritant), which is likely to result in nerve inflammation.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
Your spinal roots branch outwards from your spinal cord through neural foramina, where they join and form nerves that extend to your body. However, with spinal stenosis, the foramina narrow, thereby compressing your nerves. The narrowing can either result from disc herniation, spinal injuries, or bone spurs.
The disorder that affects your lumbar spine happens when a vertebra slips over an adjacent one, forcing the displaced vertebra to press on the nerve roots or nerves beneath it.
- Piriformis syndrome
The piriformis muscle in your spine’s lower part connects to your thigh bone and helps in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve that passes under the piriformis muscle might experience irritation from the muscle when it’s inflamed and compresses against the nerve.
Sciatica hurts. However, pain relief without a proper diagnosis can be challenging. Therefore, contact your doctor for a thorough evaluation to get appropriate treatment for your sciatic nerve pain.