The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. When it flares up, pain and discomfort can limit your everyday activities. Sciatica pain treatment varies in intensity based on the level of pain you experience.
The sciatic nerve runs from your pelvis, through your hips and buttocks, and down the back of each leg. When this nerve is injured or compressed, it can cause pain from your lower back down to your toes.
Conditions like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can all cause sciatica by putting extra pressure on your sciatic nerve. Sciatica is also common in pregnant women and people with jobs that require constant sitting. Sitting for too long causes tightening of your lower back muscles, which exerts pressure on your sciatic nerve.
How Do I Know if I Have Sciatica?
Sciatica usually presents only on one side of your body. Symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain in your leg or buttock that worsens when sitting
- Burning and tingling in your leg
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your leg or foot
- Constant pain in one buttock
- Shooting pain that makes standing difficult
If your sciatica is causing too much pain to function normally, consider finding local sciatica pain treatment in Arkansas. Treatments include physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, a nerve block, or (in rare cases) surgery.
Sciatica Pain Treatment
If home remedies and over-the-counter pain relievers stop relieving your pain, there are two main options for treating your sciatica:
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend steroid injections as sciatica pain treatment. The steroids are injected directly into the epidural space in your spine. This reduces inflammation around your sciatic nerve and lessens the pressure, relieving pain. Injections can be given up to three times in a one-year period.
Epidural treatments for sciatica have been used for over 60 years, and although they rarely bring about a permanent fix, they can offer relief for anywhere from one week to a few months. They are often paired with physical therapy treatment to make your movements less painful.
During an epidural steroid injection, you will lie flat on an X-ray table with a pillow under your stomach to curve your back. Your skin will be cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic then, using fluroscopy or a live X-ray to guide your surgeon, a needle is inserted and guided to the epidural space.
The steroid injection is typically painless. Afterwards, you will be observed by medical staff for 15-20 minutes and then allowed to go home.
Surgery is only recommended for patients who suffer from sciatica as a result of a herniated disk or degenerative disc disease. If this is the case, your spinal surgeon may recommend a microdiscectomy or lumbar decompression.
During a microdiscectomy, your spine surgeon will eliminate your sciatica pain by removing all or part of the herniated disc that is pushing on your sciatic nerve. The operation is considered minimally invasive—requiring only a small incision—and recovery should be relatively short. 90% of patients achieve relief from their sciatica pain after surgery.
Whether your sciatica is a minor irritation or a major inhibition, there are treatment options available. Seek an experienced interventional pain management specialist or spinal surgeon to assist you in creating a pain management plan of action.
If you suffer from severe sciatica, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital about sciatica pain treatment in Arkansas. Call (877) 918-7020 and set up your consultation with one of our experienced pain management specialists today.
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*Photo by Blausen.com staff CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons