Also known as sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy, sciatic nerve pain can be defined as pain or discomfort that starts in the lower back and can travel down one or both legs. It may feel like a cramp or sharp jolt.
Sciatic nerve pain is usually noticeable following a sudden or sharp movement, such as sneezing, coughing or sitting. The pain is typically worse in the leg than the lower back.
Other symptoms that come with sciatic nerve pain include leg or foot weakness, tingling in your legs and feet, burning sensations and numbness. If your sciatica gets worse, you should plan to see your doctor or soon as possible. When your sciatica affects bowel or bladder functions, this is an emergency and you need to seek medical care immediately.
A herniated (or slipped) disc in your lower back is one of the most typical causes of sciatic nerve pain. Discs are round cushions between each vertebra (bone) of the spine. These become herniated when the soft center squeezes out through the thick outer ring.
A herniated disc in the lower part of your spine can add pressure to the nerve fibers that make up your sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and branches down through each leg. That resulting compression can irritate the nerve and result in pain.
Other conditions that can put pressure on your sciatic nerve include spinal stenosis, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, tumors or muscle spasms.
When you come to Riverview Health for your nerve pain, our orthopedic spine specialists will likely begin by asking about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll also use tests to diagnose sciatic nerve pain, including a physical exam and various exercises to pinpoint your discomfort. Additional testing, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, may also be necessary.
While some sciatic nerve pain can be fixed with rest, hot and cold packs, over-the-counter pain medications and stretches, doctors may also recommend prescribed medications, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy or surgery.
If sciatic nerve pain interferes with your active lifestyle, you can rely on Riverview Health to provide an accurate diagnosis and efficient treatment options to get you back on your feet. Request an appointment with our orthopedic spine team today by calling 317.565.0505 or by completing an appointment request form.
Riverview Health offers relief from sciatic nerve pain for people living in Noblesville, Carmel, Cicero, Fishers, Sheridan and Westfield, IN.