Sciatica is a unique form of nerve pain that affects approximately 40% of men and women. At Garden State Pain & Orthopedics in New Jersey, the skilled team of physicians specializes in treating complex pain conditions, especially those involving your nerves, like sciatica. Call Garden State Pain & Orthopedics to schedule an appointment at one of their convenient locations in Edison, Clifton, Hazlet, Paramus, or Jersey City to find relief from your sciatica symptoms, or book online today.
When you have sciatica, you experience specific symptoms because of inflammation of your sciatic nerve originating in your buttock/gluteal area. You have a sciatic nerve running through each leg. They begin beside your lower spine, pass through your buttocks, and into your leg before finally ending in your foot. If your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, it triggers various symptoms, including pain, tingling, and numbness.
It’s easy to recognize sciatica symptoms because they radiate along your nerve, starting in your lower back and moving into your buttock, hip, and leg. Sciatica symptoms affect one side of your body and range from mild to severe. In many cases, they can include sharp, jolting, or burning pain, and doing things like sneezing, coughing, or sitting for long periods can worsen them.
Actual injury to your sciatic nerve “sciatica” involving spinal nerves and the spinal cord is rare. Common sciatica primarily refers to pain related to an injury of a nerve as it travels down your leg.
People feel sciatica pain in the affected leg differently, with descriptions like sharp, shooting, burning, stabbing, and more. The pain can be constant or ebb and flow while being more severe in the legs or the lower back. A sneeze or sudden movement can worsen the pain, as can sitting or standing for too long.
Usually, it only affects one leg at a time but that depends on where the nerve is being pinched. The same factor determines whether you feel it suddenly or gradually, because sciatica caused by arthritis develops slower than sciatica caused by disk herniation.
There are several direct causes of sciatica to be aware of. Many of these worsen over time if not appropriately treated or given the medical attention required.
The most common cause of sciatica is a slipped or herniated disk that puts pressure on a nerve root. Sciatica occurs because these disks are supposed to protect the space between the spine's vertebrae but end up pressed by the bone. When these disks are naturally worn down over time, this is referred to as degenerative disk disease. Natural wear down may also lead to spinal stenosis, where sciatic nerve roots are pinched due to narrower nerve passageways.
Other causes of sciatica include:
With sciatica being common, you are likely to be affected by a risk factor and should be careful if you:
All these factors affect the spinal column and may lead to some symptoms of sciatica developing over time. It is essential to maintain your health and talk to medical professionals for an opinion and a physical exam if you believe you may be suffering from sciatica.
Yes, it affects approximately 40% of men and women in the U.S. and is the third most common reason people go to their healthcare providers. While common, it can still cause serious problems if left untreated and may require immediate medical attention if the symptoms become too severe or worsen over time.
Luckily, with the proper care and treatment, preferably from a physical therapist or pain specialist, sciatica is something most recover from. However, permanent nerve damage may occur if the pinched nerve or nerves are left untreated. More issues are sure to follow, so be sure to plan on meeting a medical professional if you find yourself developing sciatica.
The effects of sciatica vary wildly depending on the nerves affected, and the soft tissue is degraded. Sharp pain, numbness, or even a dragging foot can be typical signs to look out for. But the most prominent symptom of sciatica is a pain in the lower body. Pain in the lower body that flares when standing, sneezing, bending over, going through a bowel movement, or walking more than a few yards is a common sign to look out for.
A physical exam by your health care provider will search for other symptoms like difficulty, bending the foot, walking on your toes, severe leg weakness, numbness, loss of sensation, inability to bend, and slowed reflexes.
It depends on the root cause. Some forms of sciatica occur simply because of age, where the disks between vertebrae have endured so much wear and tear that they simply do not function properly anymore. But many forms of sciatica are preventable by undergoing some minor lifestyle changes and practicing self-care. Be sure to take care of yourself and reduce the risk of sciatica by:
The Garden State Pain & Orthopedics team provides several different treatments for sciatica depending on the cause and severity of your symptoms. It is important to note that sciatica can be managed over time with the following:
For sciatica symptoms that don't respond to conservative treatments, your Garden State Pain & Orthopedics provider might recommend minimally invasive therapies that include: