The classic sciatica pain symptom is pain that starts in the lower back and radiates (travels) to the buttock and down the back of the leg possibly to include the foot and toes. Sciatica pain symptoms may be felt anywhere along this path but typically follows the path from the back to the buttock and back of the thigh or calf. Sciatica pain level can vary from mild to severe and is usually described as shooting, burning in sensation, electric shock-like, as well as cramping sensations in the same pattern, leading to the need for sciatica pain management. Usually only one side is affected and the sciatica pain can worsen with prolonged sitting, bending, twisting and even coughing and sneezing. There also can be associated numbness in the same distribution pattern.
Sciatica refers to pain that stems from the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. Sciatica is not a disorder, but a symptom of another underlying problem, such as a spinal or neural foramina stenosis, a pinched/irritated nerve in the lower back or a herniated disc, and bone spurs and facet hypertrophy (overgrowth of bone or enlargement) causing narrowing of the opening where the nerve travels. On occasion, a tumor can be the cause of the underlying disorder by pressing on the sciatic nerve and can be seen on an MRI. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage causing the above symptoms.
Health problems, lifestyle choices and genetic factors such as age and history of diabetes are all risk factors of sciatica. Occupations that require you to twist your back and carry heavy loads increase your risk of developing sciatica.
By reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam and basic muscle tests, your sciatica clinic doctor may be able to tell if and where you have sciatica and discuss possible sciatica pain management treatment. Further imaging tests such as spinal x-rays, MRI’s and CT scans may be necessary if the pain is severe or lasts a long time.
There are a number of sciatica pain management treatment options that help manage the painful symptoms of sciatica, which include:
At MAPS, our sciatica clinic doctors value the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. For those sciatica pain management treatments not offered by MAPS, we are able to refer you to other sciatica pain management clinic doctors.