What is Sciatica?
Sciatica (sometimes known as radiculopathy) is a description of symptoms, not a diagnosis. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a portion of the sciatic nerve is compressed due to a herniated disk, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis). This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Treatments for Sciatica
Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. It is advisable to treat sciatica as early as possible in order to avoid the progression of symptoms. Sciatica treatment may include both nonsurgical and surgical methods. Typically, conservative nonsurgical methods are tried first such as a combination of physical therapy, medications, therapeutic injections, and alternative therapies. Surgery may be indicated when the underlying cause is severe and/or progressive neurological deficits such as leg weakness occurs and progress is not being made with more conservative therapies.
A number of surgical approaches are available to relieve various sources of nerve root compression or irritation, such as: