Sciatica is a painful, often debilitating condition that affects the sciatic nerve. This condition can vary in severity and duration, often manifesting as shooting pain down your leg and numbness or weakness.
Luckily, there are various treatments to help patients with this condition. Sciatica treatments depend on the underlying cause of the problem and its severity. Some people find relief from over-the-counter pain medications, while others require more intensive treatment options such as physical therapy or surgery.
It’s therefore important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you have sciatica. Our Naples sciatica treatment doctor will determine whether or not you have sciatica based on your symptoms and conduct an examination that includes tests for muscle strength and flexibility. Then, our doctors will prescribe a treatment plan that aims to relieve your pain and restore functionality.
Call Naples Community Injury Center at 239-631-5445 to schedule an appointment today.
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How Do You Know You Have Sciatica?
If you’ve never had sciatica, it can be challenging to diagnose independently. The pain can be intense and debilitating, but it can also be confused with other symptoms like a pulled muscle or arthritis. If you are experiencing pain in your leg, buttock, back, or feet that is not relieved by rest or medication, you should see your doctor to rule out any severe medical conditions.
There are different types of sciatica, and each has its own set of diagnostic criteria. However, there are some common symptoms of sciatica that you should look out for:
- Pain in your buttock or back that radiates down one leg
- Pain that worsens when sitting or walking
- Tenderness along the nerve root itself
- Numbness in one leg when sitting for long periods
- Difficulty walking for long distances
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
Fortunately, you can take steps to ease your symptoms – and get back to living life without limitations. Your doctor will help design a care program to relieve the symptoms so that you can get back to normal life.
Causes of Sciatica
Most cases of sciatica are caused by a spinal disc herniation. In some cases, this can press on nearby nerve roots and cause pain to radiate down one or both legs with time. Disc herniations are often accompanied by a tear in the outer ring of cartilage that surrounds the disc. This causes inflammation and pain in addition to pinching on the nerve root.
Other causes of sciatica include:
- Injury to one or more of the lumbar spinal nerve roots (the part of your spine where nerves come out from your spinal cord)
- Sprain or strain in your lower back muscles and ligaments
- Certain tumors in your spine
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Spondylolisthesis (misaligned vertebrae)
- Problems with other joints in the spine like degenerative disc disease or facet joint arthritis
- Infection in the sacroiliac joint (SI joint), which is located between your ilium and the sacrum
Risk Factors for Sciatica
There are several risk factors associated with sciatica. Some of them include:
If you have a history of injury, this could put you at risk for developing sciatica. In particular, if you have had previous surgery on your spine, it can increase your risk of developing sciatica.
Our bodies naturally wear down and become less resilient as we age. This is why older people are more likely to experience sciatica than younger people.
Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on your spine and pelvis, making them more susceptible to pain and damage.
Weak core muscles are more likely to develop degeneration of the spine. The core muscles are essential for supporting your spine, so it’s important to strengthen these muscles.
Heavy Lifting Tasks
Heavy lifting tasks can cause a herniated disc or lumbar compression fracture due to excessive stress on your back muscles and ligaments, leading to sciatica symptoms and back pain.
A sedentary lifestyle has been linked with an increased risk of developing degenerative discs in the spine, leading to sciatica symptoms and back pain.
Arthritis that affects the joints between your vertebrae (discs) can cause sciatica if it damages your vertebrae at each side of your spine (facet joints).
Poor posture changes weight distribution across your spine, putting more pressure on certain areas than others which may irritate surrounding nerves.
The nicotine content of tobacco speeds the wearing down of vertebrae discs, weakens bones, and damages spinal tissues.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are several tests that your doctor may perform to determine if you have sciatica.
A doctor will examine your spine and ask questions about your medical history to determine what’s causing your sciatica symptoms. X-rays are needed to rule out other causes of your pain, such as osteoporosis. MRI scans will produce detailed pictures of the spine and surrounding tissues. Your doctor will then design a treatment plan to relieve sciatica symptoms.
Some of our Naples sciatica treatment options include:
Chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for alleviating sciatica symptoms caused by spinal misalignment or other structural problems in the body. In addition to helping reduce inflammation, chiropractic adjustments improve muscle strength and flexibility.
A combination of medication and non-invasive therapies can help you manage pain associated with sciatica. Your doctor will work with you to determine which pain management treatments will be most effective for your condition.
Physical therapy can help strengthen your core muscles, improve flexibility and reduce pain associated with sciatica. Our physical therapists will develop an exercise routine that helps reduce symptoms and improve the range of motion so that you can resume normal activities.
If you have been diagnosed with chronic sciatica, you may need rehabilitation therapy services. Rehabilitation therapy can help to return your body to the previous way of functioning before your injury.
Get Naples Sciatica Treatment Today
If you’re suffering from sciatica, it can affect your job, relationships, etc. Fortunately, there is hope for people with sciatica. At Naples Community Injury Center, our goal is to help you restore your health and improve your quality of life through individualized treatment plans that meet your unique needs. Call us today at 239-631-5445 or schedule an appointment online!