Sciatica refers to pain radiating down the entire sciatic nerve, one of the largest nerves in the human body starting from the lower back, running down the backs of each leg, and ending at the feet. As the sciatic nerve branches along the hips and buttocks, it covers most parts of your lower body, facilitating sensations and movements. Sciatica pain usually only affects one side of the body, but it can also affect both sides. The pain is often severe, leading to electrical sensations, numbness, and weakness along the path of the affected nerves.
Sciatica usually occurs when the sciatic nerve roots are pinched or compressed due to herniated discs, bone spurs, or other reasons. In rare cases, the sciatic nerve may be pinched because of other underlying disease or a tumor.
The following are the potential causes of sciatica pain:
- Back injuries and trauma.
- Degenerative spine conditions.
- Herniated discs.
- Consistently poor posture.
- Lifting heavy objects with the lower back.
- Other underlying diseases, such as diabetes.
Sciatica pain may be caused by several underlying factors, so it’s crucial to determine the root cause of your sciatica pain before curating a treatment plan. Dr. McHugh leverages his immense skills, patience, and experience to narrow down the true root cause of your sciatica pain. He discusses your symptoms, examines your medical history, and runs physical tests to check your muscle strength and nerve reflexes.
He may also ask you to walk around or perform specific movements, following which he may recommend certain imaging tests and electromyography (EMG). The imaging tests reveal bone spurs pressing on the nerves or other problems in the bones or soft tissues. The electromyography (EMG) test measures how your muscles respond to the electrical impulses produced by the sciatic nerves, confirming if you’re suffering from nerve compression.
In most cases, sciatica pain can be treated with physical therapy, medications, and other nonsurgical methods. Dr. McHugh aims to treat sciatica with noninvasive procedures, only resorting to minimally invasive surgeries if all other options fail to yield results. However, even if surgery is necessary, he specializes in minimally invasive and outpatient procedures that help you regain complete mobility quickly. You should note that the complete sciatica recovery process may take several months or even longer.
- The following are the available treatment options for sciatica pain.
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- Muscle relaxants.
- Topical analgesics.
- Physical therapy.
- Minimally invasive surgery, such as endoscopic discectomy or microscopic discectomy.
- Shooting or burning pain from the buttocks down to the thighs.
- Mild to severe pain on one or both sides of the body.
- Numbness and tingling sensations in a linear path down the legs.
- The pain worsens when you cough, squat, or sit down.
- Loss of sensations or weakness in the legs in rare cases.
- Loss of bowel control in rare cases.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Occupations that necessitate heavy lifting.
- Driving motor vehicles for long periods.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
Consult Dr. Brian McHugh
Dr. Brian McHugh specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sciatica pain. He uses the latest cutting-edge techniques to identify the root cause of sciatica, allowing him to curate the ideal treatment plan according to your unique needs and lifestyle concerns. He treats sciatica with nonsurgical methods and only recommends surgery as a last resort.
You must consult Dr. McHugh in the following circumstances:
- You have sudden and severe pain in your buttocks or lower back.
- The pain is accompanied by numbness or weakness.
- The pain occurs shortly after an injury or trauma.
- You’re losing sensation in your legs.
- You’re losing bladder or bowel control.