Sciatica usually manifests as pain that shoots down the buttock and back of the thigh, but can also apply to numbness, tingling, or even a burning sensation anywhere from the lower back to the toes.
At McGowan Medical Centers, we have successfully treated many patients throughout the Jacksonville, Florida area who have suffered from sciatic pain. Those patients agree that sciatica has had a huge impact on their quality of life. They also agree any improvement to their pain and mobility is a welcome relief.
Sciatica can be a self-limiting condition or one that may never truly heal, depending on the root cause of your sciatic pain. Which treatment to choose often depends on the cause of the nerve irritation as well.
Causes of sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the entire body. It runs from your spine, through your pelvis and buttock, and down the back of your leg to your foot. When you feel pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness from your sciatic nerve, it’s because somewhere along the nerve route something is pressing on it, much like when an arm or leg goes to sleep because you have been sitting or sleeping awkwardly.
Compression of the sciatic nerve can come from various different conditions or injuries, some examples of which are as follows:
- A herniated disc in the lumbar spine: This happens when the inner part of a spinal disc leaks out of the outer core and causes irritation to the nerves.
- Degenerative disc disease: All of us are prone to weakening and degeneration of our discs as we age, but for some this can cause irritation to the nerves more than others.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition is caused by a tiny stress fracture, which can result in one vertebra slipping over another, compressing the disc space between and often pinching the nerve in the process.
- Spinal stenosis: This narrowing of the spinal canal causes pinching of the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome: This syndrome is an inflammation of the piriformis muscle in the buttock.
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction: The SI joints are the joints either side of your spine at the back of your pelvis. Inflammation of these joints can feel the same as sciatica and are quite common in pregnancy.
- Muscle strain: Inflammation to a muscle in the lower back causes pressure on the sciatic nerve.
As we said previously, the treatment for sciatica and the prognosis can vary based on the cause. At McGowan Medical Centers we have a treatment program to help you on the road to recovery:
- Stretching exercises - Sometimes the most effective methods of controlling sciatic pain are the ones you can take care of yourself. At McGowan Medical Centers we can show you how to stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints to heal and prevent future injury.
- Deep tissue massage and chiropractic manipulation - Using hands-on techniques, Dr. McGowan can target tight muscles that are contributing to sciatic pain.
- Lifestyle adjustments - McGowan Medical Centers can show you how to avoid activities that aggravate your sciatica and prevent your conditioning from limiting your lifestyle.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications - Drs. Royce McGowan and Shelita McGowan can prescribe oral medications that can reduce the inflammation and pain associated with sciatica.
- Anti-inflammatory or steroid injections - You may be a candidate for targeted injections, which can reduce inflammation in the affected areas. Dr. Royce and Dr. Shelita McGowan will talk you through the benefits of the procedure and help you decide whether it is right for you.
- Decompression machine - Nonsurgical spinal decompression provides motorized traction to the joints of the spine, relieving pressure on nerve roots and alleviating painful conditions.
Dr. Royce McGowan, Dr. Shelita McGowan, and Dr. Kwame Jenkins are all experienced in using the aforementioned techniques to treat patients with sciatic pain caused by a range of conditions.
If you live in and around Jacksonville, Florida and would like to discuss how we can help you start to feel better and recover from your sciatic pain, make an appointment at our office today.