Sciatica

Sean R. Thomas, MD, Inc. & Associates

General Family Medicine located in Aliso Viejo, CA

Sciatica is a pain, literally, and if you’re suffering from pain radiating in your lower back, buttocks, or leg, you may have it. If you’re ready to cast off your sciatica shackles, reach out to the team at Sean R. Thomas, MD, Inc. & Associates, located in Aliso Viejo, California. The compassionate team at this family and general practice are ready to guide you to a pain-free life. Schedule an appointment today online or over the phone.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

The term “sciatica” refers to any pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve, such as injury or compression. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down through each leg, so you most often feel sciatica in your legs, lower back, hips, and/or buttocks.

Sciatica, which you typically feel only on one side of your body, feels like cramping with a burning sensation or a dull ache. The pain can be mild, or it can be excruciating.

Common sciatica symptoms include:

  • Leg weakness
  • Pain that radiates down your lower back into your leg
  • Pain that worsens when you sneeze, cough, or sit
  • “Pins and needles” numbness in your leg

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by pressure or pinching on your sciatic nerve. This pain can originate from a number of sources, the most common including:

  • Aging
  • A herniated disc
  • An infection
  • Vertebra bone overgrowth (a bone spur)
  • An injury with inflammation

You can also develop sciatica during pregnancy when your growing uterus places pressure on the sciatic nerve.

How can I treat my sciatica?

Sciatica often clears up on its own after several weeks. If your sciatica is chronic, extremely painful, or debilitating, you should come in to get treated. Typical sciatica treatments include injections and physical therapy.

Injections

Spinal epidural steroid injections, typically a cortisone steroid, ease pain by calming inflammation. During treatment, the team at Sean R. Thomas, MD, Inc. & Associates injects the steroid directly into your back, close to the root of your sciatic nerve. To maintain pain relief, you have to come in for new injections. Everyone is different, and pain relief can last anywhere from a week to a year.

Physical therapy

To help you strengthen your back and thereby relieve your pain, the team may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy typically involves doing repetitive exercises and walking regularly.

Sometimes, physical therapy and injections aren’t enough. If you’ve been suffering with sciatic nerve pain for over three months, the team at Sean R. Thomas, MD, Inc. & Associates may refer you to a surgeon for surgery focused on decompressing your nerve.

Sciatica doesn’t have to be forever. If you’re ready to get back to your life, pain-free, call Sean R. Thomas, MD, Inc. & Associates or book an appointment online today.