Sciatica Specialists

Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own. Comprehensive pain management is vital to a patient’s healing process. Our doctors can thoroughly evaluate your pain symptoms in order to accurately diagnose the cause.

Pain and Spine Specialists
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Sciatica Pain Services

Sciatica is caused by injury to, or pressure on, the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg.

It also provides the sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica pain can range from mild to severe and usually occurs on one side of the body. Sciatica can also develop very suddenly or gradually over time. 

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What Is Sciatica

The Sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. The nerve diverges into a left and right nerve on both sides of the body. It actually extends through the hips and buttocks and continues down the leg, where it ends right below the knee. At the knee, the nerve branches off into other nerves, which continue all the way into the feet.  

Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. Each individual case of Sciatica can vary in terms of how long it lasts or whether treatment is necessary. Some people only experience pain from Sciatica for about one to two weeks before it clears up on its own. Others will have pain that comes and goes for several years, with multiple episodes of flare up pain occurring throughout the course of a year. A number of people may be able to clear up their pain with at-home-care, which includes the use of hot/cold packs, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, and safe stretches. For anyone who is not able to see improvements after trying home remedies, they may need to see a doctor in order to manage or alleviate their pain. 

Many people describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or stabbing and some even feel a burning sensation. The pain may come and go or remain consistently, with it possibly being worse in the legs than the back.  

Causes Of Sciatica

Pressure or damage to the nerve can occur for a variety of reasons. Sciatica causes can include: 

  • A bulging or herniated disk that is pressing on the nerve. Discs are the cushions between the vertebrates that make up the spinal column. Disc bulging occurs when the disc extends outside its normal space. A disc herniation is when the ‘inner jelly-like substance’ pushes out of the disc because of tears or defects in the outer cartilage layer. 
  • Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerve. It can happen in any part of the spine, but most often occurs in the neck and the lower back. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is the name for the type of Stenosis that is present in the lower back and the lumbar area is made up of five lumbar vertebrae, where the Stenosis can set in. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is actually, usually the result of the damages caused from Osteoarthritis.  
  • Bone spurs that also cause the sciatica nerve to become compressed. Bone spurs are essentially an overgrowth of bone and this can take place on the bones that make up the spinal column. Also known as Osteophytes, these growths often start in the joints, which connect the bones, but when the jagged edged bones occur in the right spot along the spine it can easily narrow the space and pinch the spinal cord or nerve roots. 
  • Developing Cauda Equina Syndrome. This condition affects the nerves at the lower part of the spinal cord and can happen in rare cases. This syndrome is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention, as it leads to a loss in control of the bowels and bladder.  
  • An injury such as a pelvic fracture. 
  • Sometimes, no specific cause can be found. 

Herniated or slipped disks are the most common reason for Sciatica.  

Standing and sitting for long periods of time, like what is often required at an office job, can aggravate Sciatica pain, along with any sudden movements that twist the body.   

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica pain is usually only on one side of your body. Symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pain that radiates (travels) from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg 
  • Weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet 
  • Numbness along the nerve 
  • Tingling (a “pins and needles” feeling) 

When To See A Doctor

While it is possible your pain will clear up on its own, if it is a mild case, you may need to see your doctor if: 

  • You do not see improvements in your symptoms after trying home remedies. 
  • The pain does not go away after one to two weeks. 
  • Your pain is worse than it has been in the past or starts to intensify over time. 

You should seek immediate medical attention if these situations occur: 

  • You start to have pain after an accident or injury, such as having a serious fall. 
  • You are unable to control your bladder or bowels. 
  • You have excruciating pain or muscle weakness originating in your lower back or in the legs. 

Risk Factors for Developing Sciatica 

Certain risk factors are associated with the onset of Sciatica pain. Those risk factors are: 

Age: As people age their chances for herniated disks and bone spurs, along with other spine related conditions that can lead to Sciatica, can increase. 

Job: Any profession that has you sitting or standing for hours on end, where you cannot walk around or stretch properly, can play a part in Sciatica pain. The same can happen if you have a job that is very physically demanding, which may involve lifting heavy objects or other tasks that are hard on the body, and might cause a work related injury to the lower back. 

Lifestyle: Those who have a sedentary lifestyle and do not exercise often are more likely to have Sciatica than those who are physically active and get the recommended amount of exercise on a regular basis. 

Sciatica Diagnosis

Our board-certified, caring physicians will carefully examine you to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. Our advanced diagnostic techniques will help us determine what's causing your pain and get you on the road to better health.

  • We take your medical history
  • We conduct a thorough physical exam
  • We carefully analyze your symptoms
  • We may order diagnostic tests, including x-ray, MRI, and nerve conduction studies, to help us diagnose your chronic pain

Once we have an accurate diagnosis, we will work together with you to create a treatment plan that will be successful for your chronic pain.

Treatments for Sciatica

If you would like more information about sciatica treatment or our back pain doctors, please call Pain and Spine Specialists and speak to our dedicated team to improve the quality of your life. You can call (301) 703-8767 (Maryland Locations), (724) 603-3560 (Pennsylvania Locations), or (540) 433-1905 (Virginia Locations) and schedule an appointment today.

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At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 

Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 

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