Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. When it’s compressed or irritated, you can develop sciatica, a combination of painful and disruptive symptoms, including lower back pain and numbness in your legs. Jacqueline Weisbein, DO, a double board-certified, fellowship-trained pain management expert treats sciatica at her practice in Napa, California. If you’re concerned about sciatica, call Dr. Weisbein or make an appointment online for expert diagnosis and customized care.
Sciatica is the name for the group of symptoms caused by compression or irritation of your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and splits to extend down both sides of your buttocks and legs, ending at your feet. Depending on the location of your sciatic nerve compression, you may experience:
If you have sciatica symptoms, you should make an appointment with Dr. Weisbein. When left untreated, your risk of falling or developing bowel or bladder problems increases.
A herniated disc in your lumbar (lower) spine is the most common cause of sciatica. However, any condition that compresses your sciatic nerve can trigger sciatica. For example, other causes of sciatica include:
Muscle spasms in your lower back or buttocks or tightness in your piriformis muscle can also irritate your sciatic nerve. You may also develop sciatica following an injury to your back or trigger symptoms by overdoing it at the gym or not cooling down correctly.
In many cases, Dr. Weisbein can identify sciatica after talking to you about your symptoms. However, she’s an extremely thorough physician and runs tests to confirm her suspicions. For example, she may ask you to perform some stretches that put pressure on your sciatic nerve and trigger your symptoms.
She may also order X-rays or MRIs to examine your internal structures and locate the sciatic nerve compression. Nerve function and conduction studies help her pinpoint the precise location of the nerve compression that’s causing your pain.
Sciatica treatment has two goals: to alleviate your symptoms and relieve the compression on your sciatic nerve. Dr. Weisbein creates customized, multimodal treatment plans to address your specific needs. Your treatment plan may include:
If conventional treatments don’t alleviate your pain or if your diagnostic tests indicate permanent nerve damage, Dr. Weisbein may suggest nerve blocks or spinal cord stimulation to relieve your symptoms.
If you’re concerned about sciatica, call Dr. Weisbein or schedule a consultation online today for expert, personalized treatment plans.