27 Jan Sciatica: One of the Most Common Complaints in Pain Management
You feel a sharp pain in your lower back, a pain that extends into your leg. But that’s not all. Your leg feels weak from time to time. Numbness and tingling are occasional problems as well. It turns out you might be suffering from one of the most common complaints we hear in the pain management arena: sciatica.
Known medically as lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica is an increasingly common problem in our sedentary world. The good news is that most cases resolve spontaneously and so do not require any aggressive treatment. But there are some cases that go on to become chronic.
We see patients suffering from sciatica in our Weatherford clinic. We invite you to contact us if symptoms you are experiencing suggest it as a possibility. We can help you figure it out, and then we can recommend treatments to help you get well.
Sciatica Is Nerve Compression
Sciatica is part of a family of disorders known as radiculopathy. In all cases, the source of the problem is a compressed nerve. This particular form of radiculopathy is the result of a compressed nerve in the lower back. For the record, there are two other recognized forms of radiculopathy:
- Cervical Radiculopathy – This form of the condition is the result of nerve compression in the neck or upper back. It creates pain and numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms, and upper back.
- Thoracic Radiculopathy – This form is the result of nerve compression in the middle part of the back. It creates pain and numbness in the sides, abdomen, and ribs. It is sometimes confused with heart problems or complications with the abdomen or gallbladder.
If you are suffering from any form of radiculopathy, a visit with a Lone Star Pain Management specialist should be enough to sort things out. Radiculopathy is fairly easy to diagnose based on observation of symptoms.
Common Sciatica Symptoms
Below is a list of the most common symptoms associated with sciatica. This list is not intended to help you self-diagnose. Rather, it is a starting point for determining whether or not you should pay us a visit. If you are suffering from two or more of them, we recommend you make an appointment to see one of our doctors:
- Pain that starts in the lower back and radiates downward. It can go all the way to the foot.
- Increased pain (usually sharp pain) when coughing or laughing.
- Sharp pains caused by sitting in certain positions.
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the back, leg, or foot.
- Accompanying pain in the arm or shoulder.
- Aggravation of arm and shoulder pain with movement.
As surprising as it might sound, sciatica can cause pain in the upper body. This is due to the complexity of the spinal column and the many nerve pathways associated with it. Arm and shoulder pain is actually more common with sciatica than most people know.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As previously stated, most cases of sciatica can be diagnosed with an observation of symptoms. If necessary, though, there are tests that we can run. X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans are all on the table. All of them are non-invasive radiological imaging tests done in an outpatient setting.
If you are diagnosed with sciatica, we might recommend seeing if it will result by itself. Other options include non-steroid pain relievers, oral or injected corticosteroids, and physical therapy. Rarely does sciatica require surgery.
If you think you might be suffering from sciatica, come to see us at Lone Star Pain Management. We are the chronic pain specialists in Weatherford, Texas.