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All About Sciatic Nerve Pain: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

All About Sciatic Nerve Pain: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating. If you have it, you need answers.

At Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute, we’re sciatica experts who can help you understand what can cause it, what your symptoms might look like, and how to get relief for it.

Causes of sciatica

The main causes of sciatica include:

Degenerative disc disease

Spinal degeneration happens naturally with age. As your discs begin to deteriorate, you might not feel any pain, but when you do, you have degenerative disc disease. This condition can irritate your nerve roots, which results in sciatica.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are common among athletes, but they can still happen to anyone. Your fifth vertebra is the most vulnerable to a stress fracture, so if you experience repeated stress to this area, you can develop sciatica.

Herniated discs

You can have a herniated disc in your lower or upper spine; however, if it occurs in your lower spine, that’s usually the cause of your sciatica symptoms. Your herniated disc has a soft center that can push through the exterior, which can irritate the nerves in your spine.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis causes a narrowing around your spinal cord, which puts pressure on your spinal cord and nerves. As the pressure increases, it affects your sciatic nerve.

Other risk factors include getting older, being overweight, sitting too much, and being a diabetic.

Symptoms of sciatica

The most obvious symptom of sciatica is pain on one side of your body. It can occur in your lower back and buttocks, or it might start in your back and work its way down to the back of your thigh or calf. It can even reach your foot.

You can experience pain that causes a dull ache or a more intense sensation like an electric shock. You might also feel:

You can also experience weakness in the affected area. In addition, your pain can come and go. For example, you might feel intense pain, but when you reposition your body, the pain can dissipate and give you relief.

Treatment for sciatica

There are three main treatments for sciatica:

Making changes to your lifestyle

Exercise and diet can be the beginning of addressing your risk factors and starting to relieve your pain. Eating a healthy diet and incorporating activity, such as taking a walk every day, can do wonders for your sciatic nerve pain. You should also apply hot and cold compresses to the affected area whenever possible.

Exercising or participating in physical therapy regularly

Simple stretches and exercises can alleviate your symptoms. We provide specific ways to stretch your body to give you relief. 

We also encourage regular strengthening exercises for your core, which give your lower back the support it needs.

Other options

If physical therapy and lifestyle changes aren’t helping, we have a host of other treatments like regenerative medicine, injections, a nerve root block, and radiofrequency ablation, to name a few. 

You might even be a candidate for medical marijuana to ease your pain, or a spinal cord stimulator might be your answer.

At our practice, we have many options to help you get the relief you need.

If you suffer from sciatica, don’t live another day in pain. Click here today to schedule an evaluation with our team at one of our locations in Plainsboro or Manalapan Township, New Jersey.

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