Radiculopathy / Sciatica

Sciatica, also known as radiculopathy, is a medical condition that causes irritation or compression of one or several nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Because the sciatic nerve traverses the lower back, hips, behind the thigh, below the knee, legs and feet, damages on the lumbar region show symptoms that emanate in these areas. A number of conditions involving the bones and tissues on the lumbar spine may be the cause of sciatica.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of sciatica are pain, numbness, tingling, and burning sensation in the lower back, radiating to the upper buttock, thigh and down to the back of the leg. Because of this, sciatica often results in lumbar pain, leg pain, hip pain and buttock pain. The symptoms make walking difficult. They are also aggravated by certain movements like bending and walking. Change in position can sometimes provide relief. 

The risk factors contributing to the development of sciatica include trauma in the lumbar spine, slipped disc, and degenerative arthritis. . 

Causes

One of the most common source of sciatica is a herniated disk. When the fibrous outer wall of a vertebral disc ruptures, the soft nucleus of the ruptured outer wall swells outward resulting to what we now call a herniated disc. This swelling generates a painful pressure that harmfully presses on a nerve root.

Another recurrent source of nerve root injury is degenerative disc disease. This is brought about when a spinal disc weakens or deteriorates, resulting to the vertebral bones on top and under the disc to move out of its original place. This results to the top and bottom vertebral bones to touch, “pinching” the neighboring nerve roots.

One more familiar cause of nerve root injury is called spinal stenosis. As the bones and joints of the spinal column degenerates or wears out, bony spurs forms around the degenerated bones and pushes inside the spinal canal and foramen space. This movement also creates a painful pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Treatment

Bed rest helps relieve the pain and discomfort. However, rest itself is not a treatment. The treatment options for sciatica depend on the cause. But the common treatments include physical therapy, stretching exercises and low back conditioning. These are paired with medications such as antidepressants, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants and pain relievers. In chronic forms of sciatica, transcutaneous nerve stimulators are used as treatment. 

Other treatments include cortisone medications, which could be oral or injected, the latter is known as epidural injection. If non-surgical treatments still don’t provide relief to the symptoms, surgical procedures may be required. 

Treating sciatica requires the expertise of pain specialists. AZ Pain and Spine is a specialist that offers pain management and treatment solutions for sciatica and other pain conditions. 

Why You Should Reach Out to AZ Pain and Spine

Bed rest helps relieve the pain and discomfort. However, rest itself is not a treatment. The treatment options for sciatica depend on the cause. But the common treatments include physical therapy, stretching exercises and low back conditioning. These are paired with medications such as antidepressants, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants and pain relievers. In chronic forms of sciatica, transcutaneous nerve stimulators are used as treatment. 

Other treatments include cortisone medications, which could be oral or injected, the latter is known as epidural injection. If non-surgical treatments still don’t provide relief to the symptoms, surgical procedures may be required. 

Treating sciatica requires the expertise of pain specialists. AZ Pain and Spine is a specialist that offers pain management and treatment solutions for sciatica and other pain conditions.