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Many patients with back pain also experience radiating pain down the leg, occasionally all the way to the foot. This radiating pain commonly referred to as “sciatica,” is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve which exits the spine in the lower back before it travels through the buttocks and hips, then down the legs. Irritation of this nerve may occur suddenly due to an injury, or slowly over time due to normal degeneration of the spine. Most commonly, this type of nerve irritation occurs when a herniated disc or bone spur on the spine causes narrowing (spinal stenosis) which compresses the nerve. While the primary symptom of sciatica is pain radiating down the leg, patients may also feel sensations of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg as well.

Most cases of sciatica usually resolve on their own within a few weeks, however, others are severe and may require a consultation with a pain management specialist. Seek urgent medical care if your pain is severe and begins suddenly if you have associated weakness, if your pain is the result of a violent injury, or if you have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder. Your doctor will likely order x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to evaluate the structures of your spine, but they may also consider Electromyography (EMG) to measure the ability of the nerves to conduct and pass their signals along. Once the probable cause of the nerve irritation is identified, an epidural steroid injection may be used to reduce the nerve’s inflammatory levels and restore the patient to a normal level of pain and functionality. While surgery may be necessary for a small percentage of patients, the vast majority are able to eliminate pain without the need for surgical intervention. Physical therapy is also greatly important for core strengthening and the promotion of long-term spine health.

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with sciatica, contact Remedy Pain
Solutions to schedule a consultation and begin the process back to pain-free living.

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