Why do I have sciatica?
Sciatica is the term that describes inflammation to your sciatic nerve, which is your body’s largest nerve. It runs all the way down one of your legs and into your foot. Because inflammation of any nerve is never a good sign, you need to determine the cause of your pain. You can wind up with sciatica if you have:
- A ruptured or bulged disc
- Narrowing in your spinal canal
- Bone spurs
- Pinched nerves
Pregnant women are also prone to suffering from sciatica, because of temporary, extra pressure on the nerve.
How do I know if I have sciatica?
The only way to know for certain is to visit one of the physicians at Apple Medical Centers. But you may suspect you have sciatica if you regularly have:
- Pain that starts in your buttock and runs down your leg
- Weakness or numbness in your leg, foot, or toes
- Radiating pain that makes walking or standing difficult
- Burning sensations down your leg
What is the process for diagnosing sciatica?
When you first meet with your dedicated pain expert at Apple Medical Centers, they talk with you about your symptoms. Let your doctor know what your pain feels like — if it’s burning versus shooting — and how often your pain flares up. If you can do anything to make it better, or if you know something makes it worse, your physician needs to know.
After your doctor gets a little background information on your pain, they perform a physical examination, checking your spine and observing while you make certain movements. To get a clearer picture of what’s going on inside your body, you might need to have some imaging ordered, like an X-ray or MRI. You should know if you have sciatica and what your treatment consists of by the end of your visit.
Can I get treatment for sciatica?
Yes. It’s common for patients to go through several types of treatments to see which one works best. Your treatment plan can include:
- Physical therapy
- Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication
- Heating pads
- Stretches or specialized exercises
- Taking short walks
- Steroid injections
- Muscle relaxants