Common Causes of Sciatica and How It's Treated

Apr 03, 2023
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Sciatica pain can stop you in your tracks and worsen over time without treatment. Learn what causes this common type of back pain and what therapies are available to ease your symptoms and improve your spinal health.

The shocking pain sciatica causes in your lower back and hips can limit your physical ability. If you can’t exercise or find sitting or standing painful, you can find sciatica treatments at Zephyr Medical.

Board-certified pain management specialist Asher Goldstein, MD, and our skilled medical team can diagnose the cause of your sciatica symptoms using state-of-the-art technologies. We also tailor a treatment plan to ease the electric shocks of pain and other sciatica symptoms.

Why you might have sciatica

Sciatica isn’t a disease but rather a description of the pain and other symptoms resulting from irritation or inflammation in your sciatic nerve.

This large nerve runs from your lower (lumbar) spine through your pelvis, hips, legs, and feet. Your sciatic nerve provides sensations to these areas and can become inflamed or damaged due to:

  • Overuse
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal misalignments
  • Degenerative disc disease

Age-related changes in your spine, like the thickening of your ligaments and spinal stenosis (spinal narrowing), can also contribute to sciatica symptoms.

In addition to your age, your body weight and lifestyle can play a role in sciatica. Being overweight or obese and sitting or standing for long periods can increase your risk of developing sciatica symptoms at some point.

Why prompt sciatica treatment is important

As soon as you notice sciatica symptoms, you should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Zephyr Medical. Early intervention of sciatic nerve inflammation makes it easier to treat your symptoms and can prevent your condition from worsening.

Dr. Goldstein recommends seeking medical attention if you experience electric shocks of pain in your lower back. This pain can also radiate into your hips, legs, and feet with sudden movements like coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

Often, sciatica pain affects only one side of the body at a time. As inflammation increases in your sciatic nerve, you might also experience persistent weakness, numbness, and tingling sensations.

During your diagnostic evaluation, we complete a physical exam assessing the range of motion in your spine. We may also order X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests to identify areas of nerve inflammation and determine its severity. Your test results help us customize a treatment plan to relieve existing sciatica symptoms and prevent them from returning.

Effective ways to treat sciatica pain

For mild sciatica symptoms, we suggest lifestyle changes you can make to reduce nerve inflammation naturally. 

You should also limit strenuous activities for a while so your spine has time to heal. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and rest can also help ease any pain you have.

When your sciatica pain is frequent or more severe, our pain management specialists may refer you to physical therapy. Your therapist can teach you gentle stretching exercises you can do regularly to relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve.

If your pain prevents you from exercising, our providers may prescribe:

Nonsurgical interventions, including the mild® lumbar decompression procedure, are available in the office to address complications that develop when your spinal ligaments thicken.

Call the Zephyr Medical office in Brooklyn, New York, to find out which sciatica treatment is right for you, or book an appointment online today.