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Diagnosis and Treatment of Sciatica

Sciatica is a common problem affecting approximately forty percent of people in the world at any point in their life. Numbness, tingling, and pain on your buttock or low back radiating past the knee are some sciatica symptoms. McNulty Spine specialists are well experienced to ensure they offer effective diagnosis and treatment methods for sciatica.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a collective term used to refer to symptoms of compressed spinal nerves in the lower lumbar spine that constitutes the sciatic nerve. It is a condition that ranges in severity, and it entails; a tingling sensation or numbness in the feet or legs, pain that is traveling to your buttocks and legs, lower back pain, and weakness in the legs.

 How pain presents in an individual may vary due to various reasons. For instance, an individual might experience little to no pain with symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness being very significant. Pain that is radiating down to the legs is a common symptom in many people.

What are the causes of sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body, and they are two in number. Each nerve is found on each side of the body. The sciatic nerve begins with spinal nerves on the lower lumbar spine and extends to your hamstring and buttock. At the knee, the nerve splits and travels down to your feet. Various injuries and conditions irritate or affect the sciatic nerve which triggers sciatica.

The most common cause of sciatica is the presence of a herniated disc of the lower lumbar spine. Infections, lumbar spinal stenosis, injuries, spondylolisthesis, and tumors might also cause sciatica symptoms.

Even though sciatica is a condition that can affect you at any age, you being at the age of thirty or forty years increases your chances of suffering from this condition. Living a sedentary lifestyle, being obese, or carrying out activities that require lifting heavy objects further increases the risk of you having sciatica.

How the diagnosis of sciatica is carried out

A complete physical examination and comprehensive history are carried out to diagnose sciatica and the underlying condition causing this problem. When carrying out the examination, you are asked to perform some maneuvers that contribute to stretching the sciatic nerve. In case these movements trigger any symptom, the doctor notices that something is compressing the sciatic nerve. CT scans, MRIs, or x-rays may also be used to locate and identify the symptoms’ specific cause.

How is sciatica treated?

The treatment option offered to you by your specialist depends on the specific condition that causes sciatica. For example, you may benefit from physical therapy or spinal injections used to reduce inflammation on the spine.

 When you are having severe sciatica, some noninvasive procedures used are not effective, some surgical procedures are recommended. Limited discectomy or lumbar laminectomies are some of the surgeries that are performed. Lumbar laminectomy is carried out to widen the spinal canal while limited discectomy is used in removing the herniated disc that is compressing the spinal nerves. At other times a fusion reconstruction may also be done depending on the sciatic case.

Suppose you or someone close to you has sciatic problems, call McNulty Spine today for more information. Various treatment options will also be discussed in detail, including under what circumstance they are used.