Sciatica

New Jersey Pain Management

Spine, Sports, & Pain Medicine Centers located in Morristown, NJ & Bridgewater, NJ

Excruciating leg pain and numbness, called sciatica, is no laughing matter and can be a symptom of a deeper health problem, such as an inflamed or injured nerve. At New Jersey Pain Management in Morristown, Bridgewater, and Rockaway, New Jersey, the team of pain management specialists, directed by Alena Polesin, MD, and Philip Rubinfeld, MD, is available to answer all your sciatica questions and find the right treatment option for you. Call or book an appointment online today to learn more.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica refers to a pain in the sciatic nerve that runs down your lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs. It typically affects only one side of your body and is a symptom of a pinched sciatic nerve or a lumbar nerve root in most cases.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by a number of different underlying conditions, including:

Herniated disc

A herniated or slipped disc in your lower back can put pressure of the sciatic nerve, causing pain that radiates from your back down your leg.

Spinal stenosis

When the spinal canal begins to narrow, spinal stenosis can occur, putting pressure on your spinal nerve.

Piriformis syndrome

The piriformis muscle is a small muscle deep within the buttocks that can become tight and compress the sciatic nerve, causing radiating pain.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebrae slips and becomes out of line with surrounding vertebrae and irritates the spinal nerve.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

Sciatica is a painful condition that may resolve itself over time. If you experience the following symptoms for longer than a week, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor:

  • Pain that radiates from your lower back down your leg
  • Burning sensation in your back, leg, or both
  • Dull ache in your lower back or buttocks
  • Knife-like stabbing pains in the sciatic nerve pathway
  • Numbness or tingling in your leg and foot

Sciatica is a tricky condition, and you may find yourself experiencing a dull pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another.

What are my sciatica treatment and prevention options?

While sciatica can affect patients of any age, it’s more commonly seen in older adults who already suffer from herniated discs. Excess body weight and lack of exercise can also put unnecessary pressure on your sciatic nerve, so it’s imperative to exercise regularly.

Without proper treatment, sciatica can worsen over time, causing weakness in your leg, loss of bladder and bowel control, and chronic pain. If you have already been diagnosed with sciatica, your treatment options include:

Physical therapy

A rehabilitation program that involves a combination of stretches, exercise, and posture correction can help improve your sciatica symptoms and relieve chronic pain.

Medications

If you suffer from chronic pain due to sciatica, your physician may recommend:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressants
  • Steroid injections
  • Epidural injections

Surgery

Your doctor will only suggest sciatica surgery if you have tried every other treatment option with no results. This option is recommended for severe cases when a patient has experienced lack of bladder and bowel control.

Call New Jersey Pain Management today or book an appointment online to learn more about sciatica.