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Understanding Sciatica Pain

Understanding Sciatica Pain

Pain, tingling, numbness and/or feelings of weakness that travels down the low back to the back of the leg could mean a variety of things, but for most people these general symptoms occur from pain signals traveling down the sciatica nerve. It’s important for patients to understand that the term “sciatica pain” is not an actual diagnosis, but a way to describe pain from various spinal conditions like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and/or spondylolisthesis.

Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine is an expert in the spine world and often encounters patients with sciatica pain. Fortunately, there are a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatment options available to remedy sciatica pain. If you have severe leg pain that lasts more than a few weeks, please consult Dr. Giovanini for treatment options that may be best for you, before considering/trying any of the treatment options mentioned in this blog.

There are many underlying medical conditions that can cause sciatica pain. Some of the most common, as previously alluded to, are a herniated disc in the lower-region of your back (lumbar herniated disc), degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Once Dr. Giovanini has determined the cause of your sciatica pain and it’s severity level, he may suggest one or more of the following therapies:

Conservative Treatment
For mild sciatica pain, patients may benefit from frequent, conservative therapies like heat/cold therapy, over-the-counter/prescription medications, or gentle stretches and exercises.
 These treatments can provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation caused by sciatica pain. Again, these therapies typically work best for patients experiencing very mild pain. If your pain level is pretty moderate to severe, review our next suggestion.

Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural injections are best for patients with moderate to severe sciatica pain. These injections may have a combination of local anesthetics and/or a saline solution and cortisone (steroid) to reduce inflammation and numb the area causing pain. This can be a great option for those who have acute, reoccurring episodes of sciatic pain. If your pain is very severe, review our next suggestion.

In some cases, Dr. Giovanini may suggest a minimally invasive spine surgery to not only fix the damaged area of the spine, but to relieve long-lasting sciatica pain. A microdiscectomy or lumbar laminectomy may be recommended is you’re suffering from a herniated disc or if a portion of disc material is pinching a nerve root. Dr. Giovanini can explain these procedures more in depth if you are a candidate for the surgery.

For more information on whether spinal surgery is necessary for your condition, or to make an appointment with the doctors at NeuroMicroSpine, please call (850) 934-7545 or click here to request an appointment. We hope to see you soon!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician's advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.