Sciatica & Sciatic Nerve Pain

The term “sciatica” refers to the pain experienced when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed by inflammation or other spinal abnormalities.

Sciatica affects many people. The debilitating pain can ultimately impact your work and personal life, making it difficult to walk and even sleep.

sciatica illustration

Causes of Sciatica

Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica) is often a symptom of a larger medical condition.

Some of the common causes of sciatica pain include:

Herniated Disc

Spondylolisthesis

Bone Spurs

Bulging disc

Pinched nerves

Lumbar Spinal stenosis

Degenerative disc disease

A bulging or herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica. As the disc bears down on the sensitive nerve (usually affecting the L4/L5 or L5/S1 levels), it restricts blood flow and important nutrients from reaching all sections of the sciatic nerve through the lower back, hips, buttocks and down each leg.

When portions of the nerve are deprived of nutrition, they are unable to emit electric impulses in a proper fashion, known as sciatica. When the nerve becomes pinched due to an underlying condition, a number of different sciatica symptoms can occur.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica usually occurs on only one side of the body and follows the nerve from the low back to the foot and toes. In rare cases, patients experience pain on both sides, also known as bilateral lumbar radiculopathy.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

Numbness

Tingling

Shooting pains

Sudden stabbing pains

A burning sensation

In most cases, the level of discomfort changes with position, but constant, chronic pain is also possible.

Diagnosis

Beginning with a patient history and thorough physical examination, the sciatica diagnosis may be completed using x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). During the physical examination, you may be asked to complete some exercises in order to pinpoint the compressed nerve root.

Exercises for Sciatica

You can find some pain relief from sciatica by completing exercises or stretches. Some exercises include:

Walking

Yoga

Abdominal exercises

Back extensions

Leg raises

Specifically, exercise and stretching can help to deal with sciatica. However, these exercises will only provide temporary relief from the pain. It is also important to speak with your doctor before performing any exercises that could worsen your sciatica pain.

Treatment for Sciatica

The Bonati Spine Procedures can provide immediate relief with sciatica treatment, especially if your symptoms of sciatic pain are related to a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disc that is compressing one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. When surgery for sciatica is required, The Bonati Spine Procedures are the best alternative to open back surgeries that often result in long recovery time.

Statistics on Sciatica

Approximately 5 to 10% of all persons with low back pain have sciatica

Those ages 45-64 are at the greatest risk of suffering from acute sciatica

Smoking and mental stress can contribute to sciatica pain

About 90% of sciatica cases are caused by a herniated disc compressing a nerve root

20-30% of sciatica suffers have persistent problems after 1-2 years if left untreated

Sciatica has been reported in nearly 10% of the population

The Bonati Spine Institute encourages patients with sciatica to contact us to request a no-obligation MRI review or discuss your conditions with our medical professionals. Find out why The Bonati Spine Procedures are considered to be among the world’s best solutions when it comes to advanced spine surgery. Your sciatic nerve pain can become a thing of the past.