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Sciatica: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sciatica: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sciatica is a lower back pain that radiates to the lower extremities due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve.

sciatica symptoms

The sciatic nerve is formed by the lower back nerves coming together. “The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb.”1 It is composed of the lumbar nerves and sacral nerves that connect and travel under the piriformis muscles located behind the buttock.

Sciatica not only causes pain but also burning sensation, numbness, or tingling sensation radiating from the lower back and upper buttock down the back of the thigh to the back of the leg.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of sciatica include2:

1. Pain in the lower back, rear or leg, and/or hip
2. Constant pain on one side of the rear
3. Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
4. Burning or tingling down the leg
5. Weakness or numbness on the leg or foot making it difficult to move

Causes

Sciatica should be understood through its root causes, as treatment should revolve around the root cause as well as alleviating the most intense symptom and/or pain.

The following conditions can cause the disease:

1. Lumbar spinal stenosis (compressed nerves in the lower back)
2. Disc herniation (the spilling out of the soft inner material of the disc, squeezing the adjacent nerve roots)
3. Degenerative disc disease (natural age-related wear-and-tear of discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae)
4. Spondylolisthesis (the slipping of one of the lower vertebrae onto the bone directly under it)
5. Pregnancy (from back strains due to weight gain and change in center of gravity)

sciatica treatment

Treatment

Various treatment options for sciatica may be obtained from chiropractic doctors, physical therapists, and medical doctors. It may be treated in various ways, including:

1.  Bed rest
2.  Hot/cold compresses
3.  Yoga & other exercises that strengthen and stretch the lower back
4.  Physical Therapy
5.  Acupuncture
6.  Massage therapy
7.  Spinal manipulation*
8.  Topical preparations
9.  Non-steroidal pain relievers
10.  Epidural steroid injection

*Chiropractic Care

According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, a study in 2010 showed that “60% of patients with sciatica who had failed other medical management benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they underwent surgical intervention.3” The study further concluded that patients with the disease should consider spinal manipulation first before surgery, if at all needed.

Prevention

Although not all causes of sciatica are preventable, lifestyle-related causes should be changed in order for you to reduce the risk of having the disease. The following steps are suggested4:

1.  Stop smoking, which enables disc degeneration
2.  Conduct exercises the strengthen your abdomen and back
3.  Use good posture in all your physical activities
4.  Avoid sitting for long periods of time
5.  When lifting heavy loads, lift with your back straight, bringing yourself up with your hips and legs

Footnotes:

1.  Jagga Allura, M.D. Board Certified Neurologist, last accessed 8/28/2018
2.  “Pain Management and Sciatica,” Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, WebMD Medical Reference; last accessed 8/28/2018
3.  “Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica: A prospective randomized clinical study.” By McMorland G1, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, and Hurlbert RJ., Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, 2010 Oct., U.S. National Library of Medicine  National Institutes of Health Resources; last accessed 8/28/2018
4.  “Sciatica: Prevention,” Cleveland Clinic Foundation; last accessed 9/1/2018

References:

1.  “Pain Management and Sciatica,” Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, WebMD Medical Reference; last accessed 8/28/2018
2.  “Sciatica,” Cleveland Clinic Foundation; last accessed 9/1/2018
3.  “Sciatica” by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR, Edited by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD; last accessed 8/28/2018
4.  “Sciatica Causes,” Spine Health; last accessed 9/2/2018
5.  “Sciatica Treatment,” Spine Health; last accessed 9/2/2018
6.  “11 Effective Solutions for Sciatica Pain,” Prevention.com; last accessed 9/2/2018

Related articles:
Sciatica and Prolonged Sitting
Exercises that Strengthen Back Muscles to Help with Back Pain
Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

Dr. Allamm Morales, M.D.
Neurologist

Dr. Allamm Morales has over 15 years experience in personal injury and a wide range of neurological disorders. He has privilege, and provides patient care in local Baptist hospitals.

He was Chief Resident at the Neurology Residency Program of the University of South Florida, and worked at the Florida Hospital of New Smyrna, and St. Luke Hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He also served many years with the Florida Neurology Institute, Inc.

Dr. Morales is a Diplomate of the American Board of Vascular Neurology, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Morales studied in Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL, had residency at the Caibarien General Hospital, Cuba, and obtained the MD degree at the Superior Institute of Medical Science in Cuba.

Fiaz Jaleel, M.D.
Physical Medicine & Rehab, Pain Management

“Life is short and precious. As a Physiatrist and Pain Physician my goal for my patients is to reduce their pain and suffering, enhance form, improve function and ultimately promote the best quality of life for that individual.”

Dr. Fiaz Jaleel graduated from the University of The West Indies in 1987. He completed a two year internship at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and Tobago. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL and went on to do a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis , MO. In 2007, Dr. Jaleel joined the team at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians as Medical Director. He is currently Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Pain Medicine via the American Board of Pain Medicine.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Jaleel held positions as an Intern, House officer, and District Medical Officer. He has also practiced in Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota and Central and North Florida.

While practicing in Trinidad , Dr. Jaleel also worked in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Neonatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and Community Medicine.

Dr. Jaleel has encountered many diseases, disorders and clinical situations related to multiple aspects of trauma including penetrating and non-penetrating injuries, motor vehicular accidents and concomitant injuries including intra-abdominal injuries, closed head injuries, fractures and burns.

When not treating his patients, Dr. Jaleel enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Dr. Jaleel has the following affiliations:
Diplomate, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Diplomate, American Board of Pain Medicine
Fellow, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, American Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, Florida Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Medical Association

Deric L. D’Agostino, D.C.
Chiropractic Physician

“The health of a body is in direct proportion to the health of its nervous system. The nervous system controls every cell, tissue and organ in your body, tap into that and “miracles” will most certainly happen!”

Dr. Deric D’Agostino attended the Logan College of Chiropractic and has been helping patients at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians for the past nine years. Around here we call him “Dr. D.”

Dr. D’Agostino specializes in Koren Specific Technique and in the treatment of injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. He is a master of his craft and firmly believes that chiropractic treatment can not only help the body but also the mind. His sense of humor and the personal attention that he provides really puts patients at ease.

Dr. D’Agostino genuinely listens to the patient while working very hard to erase their pain-inducing symptoms. He is always seeking out continuing education and new methodology to add to his care repertoire.

When he is not helping patients find relief, Dr. D’Agostino enjoys training for sprint triathlons, gardening, as well as being an awesome father and husband. You will most likely find him at our Arlington location dawning a huge smile while drinking his homemade juice.

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