What Is Sciatica?
Here at Greater Austin Pain Center, we pay close attention to all things concerning the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the thickest and longest nerve in your body, extending from your lumbar spine down to your feet. If this nerve is compressed or inflamed, a painful condition called sciatica can result. Sciatica is known for creating shooting pains that run through the lower back all the way to the feet.
The sciatic nerve branches off from the spinal cord at the lumbar spine and sacrum. As nerve roots exit the spinal cord in the lumbar spine and sacral region, they travel downward through our buttocks, the back of our thighs, through our legs, and into our feet. The sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the back of our knees and lower legs. It also is responsible for detecting sensations in the back of the thigh, the calf, and the bottoms of the feet.
- Direct trauma, often from pelvic injury
- Weight gain
- Spinal stenosis
- Misaligned vertebrae
- Degenerative/herniated discs
- Shooting pains, tingling, weakness, and numbness through lower back, legs, and feet
- In serious cases: Loss of bowel and bladder control, significant weakness in arms and legs
- Imaging studies (X-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc.)
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgical options
Sciatica Treatment in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs
In order to get an accurate read on your spinal health, Greater Austin Pain Center specialists must first determine the cause of your sciatic nerve dysfunction. This must be done first, in order to treat your sciatica symptoms appropriately. Your doctor will perform a physical examination, asking you about your symptoms and medical history. You will also be asked to perform simple movements to help your doctor assess muscular strength, joint motion and stability, reflexes, and sensation. Your doctor may also order lab studies to rule out other diseases.
Most people with sciatica are successfully treated with non-surgical methods aimed at relieving pain and pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Most people with sciatica are successfully treated with non-surgical methods aimed at relieving pain and pressure on the sciatic nerve. Over-the-counter medication or prescription medication may be used. If your symptoms do not improve significantly with these medications, your doctor may inject your sciatic nerve roots with steroid medication.
Your doctor may recommend that you participate in physical therapy to reduce pain, muscle spasms, and loss of motion. Therapists will show you exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Aquatic therapy may be helpful in easing discomfort and allowing exercises to be done with less stress on your body.
Am I At Risk?
If you suspect that the cause of your back pain is rooted in sciatica, please contact the Greater Austin Pain Center. We can schedule an appointment with you, or we can simply answer your questions about sciatica. Get in touch, and we’ll begin planning your pain management strategies without delay.