Sciatica is well-known as a common cause of low back and leg pain that can be disabling in some cases. If you have the shooting leg pain that sciatica often causes, the surgeons at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine can help. They use both conservative treatments and advanced interventions to relieve the nerve pressure responsible for your sciatica pain. The practice has nine locations in Colorado, including Lone Tree, Englewood, Castle Rock, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Colorado Springs, Parker, Yuma, and Lamar.. To schedule a consultation, call the office nearest you.
Sciatica is a condition in which nerve compression in your spine causes lower back and leg pain. The leg pain is often severe, shooting through the hip and buttock. It typically affects only one leg rather than both.
The sciatic nerve in your back is a large nerve that branches into two as it exits the bottom of your spine. Each of these branches diverts down one leg and extends into your foot. The compression that causes sciatica occurs in the lower (lumbar) part of your spine.
The leg pain that sciatica causes tends to be sharp, like an electric shock. It might travel from your hip or buttock partway or down your entire leg. Easing the compression often helps reduce the pain; for example, standing is often more comfortable than sitting.
Other symptoms of sciatica include:
These symptoms can affect your leg, foot, or both.
Most cases of sciatica relate to disc problems – specifically a herniated lumbar disc.
The discs between the vertebrae in your spine have a high water content when you're young and make good cushions to absorb shock traveling up your back. As you age, the discs dry out and get thinner, and the outer coating can weaken.
The disc’s soft center may then push against the weakened outer layer, creating a bulge or herniated disc, allowing it to squeeze through the vertebra.
One possible result is direct compression of your sciatic nerve. Another is that an irritant chemical (hyaluronan) from inside the disc can leak out, causing inflammation around your sciatic nerve.
Other causes of sciatica include:
The development of bone spurs (osteophytes) that can happen when your spine is deteriorating may worsen the problem.
Unless surgery is necessary, the CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine team initially uses non-surgical treatment methods for sciatica.
These likely include physical therapy and medication. Some patients benefit from having epidural steroid injections in their spine to reduce inflammation and ease the pain.
If these approaches are unsuccessful, surgery might be necessary. Options include:
The team at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine uses advanced, minimally invasive techniques to complete these procedures wherever possible.
If you have the shooting leg pain typical of sciatica, relief is at hand. Call CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine to book an appointment.