If you’ve never experienced sciatic pain, consider yourself lucky. If you do suffer with sciatica, you know the pain that radiates from your lower back down your leg is no joke.
Your sciatic nerve is your body’s largest, and it directs the muscles in the sole of your foot, as well as those behind your knee and in your lower leg. When this nerve is compressed or sustains an injury, that’s when trouble starts.
The expert team at Advanced Spine and Pain treats a host of conditions, but sciatica is one of the most prevalent. They start by learning as much as they can about your sciatica, from how it developed to how it affects your quality of life. Armed with this knowledge, they create a treatment plan tailored to you.
How common is sciatica and how do I know I have it?
Sciatica is widespread, affecting approximately 40% of the population at some point in their lifetimes. You’re more likely to suffer with sciatica if you’re middle-aged, and men are diagnosed three times more often than women. Smokers, people living with obesity, and those who perform physical work are more prone to sciatica as well.
Sciatica symptoms include:
- Persistent, sometimes severe, stabbing pain in the lower back
- Weakness that limits your movement
- Tingling in your lower back
Being sedentary for a long period of time or even an unexpected sneeze or cough can leave you wracked with pain if you have sciatica. Conditions that lead to sciatica include having a herniated disc, diabetes, and simply getting older and experiencing spinal degeneration.
What treatments relieve sciatica?
Fortunately, our clinicians have extensive training and a long history of designing highly customized treatment plans for those struggling with sciatica.
We first analyze your unique health profile, taking into account any comorbid conditions, your age and gender, whether you play sports on or have a job that involves physical labor, and whether you have a family history of sciatica or have sustained an injury recently.
We also inquire about how long you’ve been suffering and how limited your mobility is. This data greatly informs your treatment plan.
While we offer many treatments, we consider carefully which approaches are best and why.
Depending on the severity of your sciatica, you may only need conservative treatments, including cold or heat therapy and lifestyle adjustments, such as dietary improvements and smoking cessation (nicotine actually damages your spine and weakens your bones), and core-strengthening exercises. Medications can also lessen sciatica pain, as can physical therapy.
Sometimes, however, these treatments don’t do the trick, and we consider other options.
Injections for sciatica: A successful option
Another tried-and-true, safe treatment for sciatica is epidural steroid injections. Steroids excel at lowering your level of inflammation and relieving the agony that accompanies sciatica. Injections offer you multiple advantages:
- A hyper-focused application of steroids very close to your spinal nerve root
- Treatment is quick and convenient, done in-office
- Results are long-lasting, relieving pain and inflammation for months
We offer three types of epidural steroid injections: Caudal epidural steroid injections are given at the base of your spine, interlaminar injections can be given at every level of your spine, and transforaminal injections are directed at the spot where your spinal nerve exits your spine.
Epidural steroid injections are easy to tolerate
We start by administering a local anesthetic, so you feel no pain during the injection. Your injection takes just 10 to 15 minutes, though sometimes we may advise you to receive more than one.
After your injection, we observe you to ensure that you don't have an adverse reaction and give you ice to apply to your injection site to reduce tenderness.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel relief immediately after your injection followed by a pain flare for a couple of days afterwards — this is normal. Expect to feel optimal relief at about two to four days post-injection
An injection can liberate you from pain for months, and it’s fine for you to return for additional injections in the future, depending on how your sciatica symptoms play out.
Don’t delay getting relief for your sciatica by calling the Advanced Spine and Pain office closest to you, or request one online.