What is sciatic pain or sciatica?
Sciatic pain or sciatica is the pain that occurs because a nerve coming from the spinal cord is pressed on (trapped) by a prolapsed disc, or is irritated by the inflammation caused by the prolapsed disc. Although the problem is in the back, you feel pain along the course of the nerve in addition to back pain.
Therefore, you may feel pain down a leg to the calf or foot. Sciatic pain can range from mild to severe, but it is often worse than the back pain. With a prolapsed disc, the sciatic nerve is the most commonly affected nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is made up from several smaller nerves that come out from the spinal cord in the lower back. It travels deep inside the buttock and down the back of the leg. There is a sciatic nerve for each leg.
Causes of Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Additional common causes of sciatica include:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
- Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
- Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
- Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks
Treatment of sciatic pain
Spinal Injections: Injections like the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Interlaminar Epidural Injections and Transforaminal injection are injections into the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve roots exits. These injections reduce the inflammation and swelling of spinal nerve roots and other tissues surrounding the spinal nerve root and reduces pain, tingling and numbness and other symptoms caused by such inflammation, irritation or swelling.
Spinal cord stimulation: Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that delivers low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or to specific nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Spinal cord stimulation is recommended when other treatments have not been successful, when surgery is not likely to help, or when surgery has failed.
Radiofrequency Ablation: Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area. RFA can be used to help patients with chronic (long-lasting) low-back pain. RFA has proven to be a safe and effective way to treat some forms of pain. It also is generally well-tolerated, with very few associated complications.
Ozone Discectomy (Ozonucleolysis): Injection of Ozone-Oxygen mixture into the disc is a new alternative method of treating patients suffering from back and leg pain (sciatica) caused by disc prolapse. Large number of international studies confirms the efficacy of this treatment and superiority of this treatment over conventional disc surgery.
Surgery: Having back surgery can be a difficult choice. Typically, people consider surgery for back pain only after all other treatments have failed to provide relief. Even then, surgery does not provide significant improvement for everyone. And while the risks of back surgery are generally low, they can be serious in some people.