It is estimated that nearly half of all Americans will experience sciatica at some point in their lives. If you’re one of them, you can turn to Minnesota Institute for Pain Management for expert and effective treatment. Our team of experienced chiropractors is skilled at diagnosing the underlying cause of lower back pain and will create a customized treatment plan to relieve compression on your nerves and alleviate your sciatica pain.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a discomforting condition resulting from the compression of the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back down to the buttocks and legs. This nerve controls movement in the knee and lower leg and provides sensation in the thigh, calf, and foot.
A herniated disc is often the primary cause of sciatica pain, by putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Another potential cause is spinal stenosis, a condition where the spinal canal narrows and places pressure on nearby nerves.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the buttock or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling sensations down the leg
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the affected leg or foot
- A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
It’s important to note that not everyone with sciatica will experience the same symptoms, and some people may experience no symptoms at all. If you are experiencing pain in your lower back or legs, it’s best to seek medical attention to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.
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How is sciatica diagnosed?
Sciatica is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and a review of your medical history. During the physical exam, our doctors may ask you to perform certain movements to help identify the source of your pain. Additionally, your doctor may request imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, to get a better look at your lower back and determine if there is any nerve compression or other underlying conditions causing your sciatica. At MIPM our doctor may also ask about any previous back injuries or surgeries, as well as any symptoms you have been experiencing, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs. Based on this information, your doctor will be able to diagnose your sciatica and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
How is Sciatica Treated?
At Minnesota Institute for Pain Management, our focus is on providing immediate and effective relief for your sciatica symptoms. Our team may start by recommending over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs to ease your discomfort and aid in physical therapy. Physical therapy is an effective way to strengthen the muscles that support your lower back, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve. If these treatments aren’t sufficient, we may suggest injections of steroids or nerve blocks to disrupt nerve signals and relieve pain.
In more severe cases, where there is significant damage to the discs or vertebrae in the lower back, we may recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove the damaged vertebrae and alleviate pressure on the nerves. If you are suffering from spinal stenosis, surgery to widen your lumbar spine can also provide relief. If you are experiencing intense sciatica pain, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our expert team at Minnesota Institute for Pain Management.