Do You Have Radiating Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Sciatica refers to the pain that radiates along the path of your sciatic nerve—which is the longest nerve in your body. The sciatic nerve runs along your back, through your buttocks and down your leg. Sciatica typically only affects one side of your body, not both.

Cause/Risk Factors of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve, which controls the muscles at the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg and the sole of the foot. Common causes of sciatica include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Piriformis syndrome, which occurs when the piriformis muscle—which starts at the lower spine and connects to each thighbone—becomes tight or goes into spasm, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis or slipped disc
  • Spinal tumors

Risk factors for sciatica include:

  • Age-related changes in the spine
  • Diabetes, which increases the risk of nerve damage
  • Occupations that that carrying heavy loads, twisting the back or driving a motor vehicle
  • Prolonged sitting that accompanies a sedentary lifestyle

Symptoms of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation, to severe pain. Symptoms include:

  • A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk.
  • Burning or tingling down the leg and/or in your foot.
  • Numbness or muscle weakness along the nerve pathway in your leg or foot.
  • Pain on one side of the buttock or leg.
  • Pain that is worse when sitting.

Diagnosis of Sciatica Pain

Diagnosing sciatica begins with a physical exam that looks for abnormal or weak reflexes; pain when lifting the leg straight up; difficulty bending the foot inward or down; weak knee bending; or weak foot movement.

If pain is severe or long-lasting, an MRI or other imaging test can be done to view the sciatic nerve and see if it is being compressed.

Treatment of Sciatica Pain

At PMIR Medical Center, we understand that pain is a complex condition that affects the whole person—body, mind and spirit. We provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treatment, customizing the most effective treatment plans for our patients and empowering them to become a collaborative partner in their recovery process.

In many cases, sciatica responds well to self-management techniques, including alternating cold and hot packs, stretching, and over-the-counter pain medications.

If these tools do not reduce the pain, we offer treatment options that include:

We specialize in non-medication-based therapies to help our patients achieve sustained pain relief. However, we do offer pain medication, when necessary, as a supplement to other treatment options.

We may also recommend complementing your treatment at PMIR with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options that include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Massage Therapy

Make An Appointment Today

To learn more about how we treat sciatica and the treatment plan that might be best for you, contact us directly via our online form or request an appointment today by calling (855) 764-7633.

Talk to our Pain and Spine Specialists