Sciatica causes a distinctive, severe pain that runs from the lower back into the hip and down the leg, and it’s a cause of significant discomfort for a large number of people. Trung Ha, MD, of Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine in Irving, Texas, is a board-certified interventional pain medicine physician who provides exceptional treatment for patients with sciatica and other painful musculoskeletal conditions. For effective relief of sciatica pain, call Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment using the online form on our contact page.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica, or lumbar radiculopathy, is a condition in which there’s an irritation or compression of one or more nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Because these nerves travel to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet, an injury in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms in these areas.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica may result from a variety of problems with the bones and tissues of the lumbar spinal column, including:

Herniated disc
One common cause is a herniated disc. A herniated disc is a rupture in the fibrous outer wall of a vertebral disc, which allows the soft nucleus of the disc to bulge outward. This bulge can press harmfully against a nerve root.

Degenerative disc disease
Another common cause is degenerative disc disease. It occurs when a spinal disc weakens, allowing vertebral bones above and below the disc to shift out of position. The bones can touch, pinching nearby nerve roots.

Spinal stenosis
When bones, discs or joints of the spine degenerate, bony spurs may form and push into the spinal canal or foramen space. This is called spinal stenosis, and it can also create harmful pressure against the nerve roots.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Nerve root injury leading to sciatica may occur at any of the five vertebrae in the lumbar spine (called the L1 through L5), or at the level of the sacrum (the upper portion of which is called the S1). Symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Symptoms can vary depending on the level of the injury. For example, an injury at the L2 level can create thigh pain and hip weakness. An injury at the L3 level may result in thigh pain and knee and thigh weakness.

Damage at the L4 level may cause pain from the lower back to the foot and also foot weakness. Damage at the L5 level can create pain from the outer leg to the top of the foot and also foot weakness. And finally, damage at the S1 level can create pain from the calf to the outer foot and also foot weakness.

What treatments are available for sciatica?

Sciatica treatments aim to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce inflammation and pain. Potential treatments available at Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural injections
  • Sciatic nerve blocks

If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back, hips and legs, schedule a consultation with the expert team at Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine by making a call today or by visiting our contact page.