Sciatica

Sciatica is a funny name for nerve pain. But for people affected by it, sciatica is no joke. It can cause intense, lingering pain, even at rest.

If you have pain that starts in your lower back and runs down the back of one leg, you may have sciatica. Even if your pain seems mild or infrequent, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. If left untreated, sciatica can get worse. And it can lead to complications such as bladder or bowel problems and significant leg weakness.

Understanding Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts in your lower spine and then branches into a pair of nerves. They run through both of your hips, buttocks and legs, ending in your feet.

If something pinches or pushes against your sciatic nerve, you may feel pain along the entire length of the nerve. You may also have tingling, numbness or weakness in your leg or foot. Symptoms usually occur only on one side of your body.

Sciatica nerve pain is usually caused by one of the following conditions:

Sciatica Treatment at Mercy

Whether your sciatica pain comes and goes, or won’t go away, Mercy’s specialists can help.

Your treatment plan will depend on your underlying medical condition (what’s causing your sciatica), and the severity of your symptoms. It may include:

  • Medications that relieve pain or prevent muscle spasms.
  • Cortisone injections to reduce inflammation.
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones. Your physical therapist can also help you learn to avoid positions or movements that cause pain.

Surgery may be used when your symptoms are debilitating, and other treatments have failed. Our doctors perform several surgical procedures to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. These include discectomy and laminectomy.

If you’re having a tough time coping with sciatica pain, talk to your Mercy physician about your treatment options. We’ll help get your sciatica attacks under control – so pain no longer controls you.

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