Advanced Sciatica Treatment to Alleviate Back and Leg Pain
If you suffer from pain in your lower back, buttocks, and legs, you may have sciatica. This condition occurs when your sciatic nerve is compressed, causing radiating and chronic discomfort. In some cases, the condition will eventually go away on its own. However, if you have been experiencing symptoms for some time, Dr. Aron D. Rovner can provide effective sciatica treatment at his New Jersey area practice. At New York Spine and Sports Surgery, Dr. Rovner takes a conservative approach. He will usually begin with non-invasive options, such as physical therapy or steroid injections. Nevertheless, if needed, he can perform minimally invasive spinal surgery to alleviate your discomfort.
Severe sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating, and it may get worse over time without treatment.
What Is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It extends from the base of your spine down along the back of your legs and into your feet. Sciatica is not a medical condition in and of itself. Rather, it is a symptom of a larger problem with your spine, causing compression of the nerve.
The sciatic nerve originates in the lower spine, where nerve roots exit the spinal cord through gaps in the bone.
Causes of sciatica can include:
- Herniated disc: If one of the soft discs that cushions your vertebrae slips out of place, it can squeeze your sciatic nerve.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Similarly, one of the vertebrae themselves could slip forward onto an adjacent vertebrae.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: Typically an age-related condition, stenosis causes the spine to narrow, pressing down on the nearby nerves.
- Trauma: Sports injuries, car accidents, falls, and similar accidents can compress your sciatic nerve. These events may also cause fractures, herniated discs, and other damage, which, in turn, may lead to sciatica.
- Tumors: Malignant or nonmalignant tumors can develop on the spine, constricting the sciatic nerve. Though rare, it is important to seek treatment for sciatica, so your doctor can diagnose this potentially life-threatening condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Radiating pain from your lower back to your legs is the most common symptom of sciatica. Typically, pain is worse in the legs than it is in the back. Most often, this pain will affect only one side of your body, and it can range in severity. In some cases, discomfort may only be a minor annoyance, but in other instances it can be quite severe. Frequently, it will worsen when you cough, sneeze, or sit for long periods of time. On the other hand, walking or lying down may alleviate your pain. In some cases, you may also experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs and feet.
Treatment Options for Sciatica
Because there are so many things that can cause sciatica, care will vary from patient to patient. Nevertheless, Dr. Rovner will usually start with the most conservative option possible. Treatments can include:
- Medications: In mild cases, non-prescription pain medications may be enough to alleviate your sciatica symptoms. If you have a more severe case, Dr. Rovner may prescribe a short regimen of narcotics or muscle relaxants to reduce your initial discomfort.
- Steroid injections: Dr. Rovner can administer steroid injections directly into the area around your sciatic nerve. Results can be dramatic, but they will also be temporary, lasting up to one year. You can receive a limited number of repeat injections.
- Physical therapy: After treating your initial pain, Dr. Rovner may refer you to a qualified physical therapist. He or she will teach you exercises and improved posture to strengthen your back muscles and prevent additional injury.
- Minimally invasive surgery: If the above treatments do not prove effective, surgery may be appropriate. Dr. Rovner may also recommend surgery if you have severe sciatica, causing loss of bladder control or pronounced weakness. Using advanced techniques, the doctor will remove the portion of disc or bone that is pressing down on your sciatic nerve.
Contact Us for Effective Care
Severe sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating, and it may get worse over time without treatment. If you are suffering from the symptoms of sciatica, contact our office to schedule a diagnostic appointment and receive the personalized care that you deserve.