5 Questions to Ask About Sciatica Pain
For all of your questions and concerns about sciatica, trust the professionals at Integrative Medical Group of Texas. We can help you overcome your pain and better manage your condition in Austin, TX. For more information, please call us or book an appointment online.
Sciatica is a generalized term that refers to any pain or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve, commonly affecting just one side of the body. As the largest nerve in the human body, there are many different areas that can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, from herniated discs in the spine, to neuromuscular disorders in the back muscles. Fortunately, many cases of sciatica can make a full recovery, although serious cases may require severe interventional procedures.
Why do I have sciatica?
There are many causes of sciatica, including:
- Lumbar Herniated Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Isthmic Spondylolisthesis
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
What is the most effective treatment for sciatica?
The most effective treatment for sciatica varies from patient to patient. Depending on the level of pain associated with the sciatic nerve, treatments can range from at-home remedies to professional therapies. Fortunately, the majority of sciatica cases can heal without the need of surgery. Common treatment options for sciatica include:
Additionally, patients can help manage mild symptoms with home remedies like cold and hot packs, stretching, and over-the-counter pain-relievers. However, it is always a good idea to have your symptoms evaluated by a medical professional, especially if they have persisted for longer than three months or interfere with day-to-day activities. Before trying any remedies you may be interested in, check with your doctor to see if they are right for you.
How do I know if I have sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica are more distinct than other conditions and are typically characterized by:
- Pain that is limited to the low back, buttock, hip and leg on one side of the body only
- Pain or numbness deep within the buttocks
- Lower back pain
- Nerve tingling, prickling or electric shocking sensation
- Pain that is sharp, burning or tingling
- Weakness in the affected leg, resulting in instability and buckling of the knee
- Pain that is worse when standing or sitting, but improves when lying down
What is the process for diagnosing sciatica?
The diagnosis for sciatica depends on its root cause. In most cases, a sciatica diagnosis begins with a physical examination performed by a physician. They may start by asking about any symptoms or pain that may be related to sciatica. Next, the doctor may test muscle strength, taking notes of any numbness or weakness. They may also observe the patient while walking, sitting, standing or lying down in order to determine when the pain is happening and the cause of any discomfort. The examining physician may order an imaging test if they require more information before prescribing treatment. These may include:
- CT scan
- Electromyography (EMG)
These imaging tests can determine if sciatica is caused by compressed herniated discs or bone spurs.
When should I see a doctor for sciatica?
It is important to see a doctor for sciatica when experiencing any of the following:
- Pain that interferes with daily activities
- Pain that makes it difficult to walk
- Sudden and excruciating pain
- Pain that is accompanied by swelling and a fever
- Loss of leg movement or sensation
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of sciatica, it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. The trusted medical professionals at Integrative Medical Group of Texas can effectively evaluate, diagnose and treat sciatica. We are dedicated to treating the underlying cause of the condition, rather than simply covering up its symptoms. Call us today to book an appointment. We serve patients from Austin TX, Sunset Valley TX, Hays TX, Rollingwood TX, Bee Cave TX, Manchaca TX, West Lake Hills TX, Buda TX and South Austin, TX. Looking forward to serve you!