Sciatica Overview  

Sciatica is a symptom in which a patient experiences leg pain, which might feel like a bad leg cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. We have seen and successfully treated this condition throughout Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville.

The pain might be worse when you sit, sneeze, or cough.  Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually.  You might also feel weakness, numbness, or a burning or tingling (“pins and needles”) sensation down your leg, possibly even in your toes.  Less common symptoms might include the inability to bend your knee or move your foot and toes.

Causes

A herniated or slipped disc that can cause pressure on a nerve root.

Spinal stenosis — This condition results from narrowing of the spinal canal with pressure on the nerves.

Spondylolisthesis — This is a slippage of one vertebra so that it is out of line with the one above it, impinging the nerves within the spinal canal or the openings through which the nerves exit

Diagnosis

Sciatica can be diagnosed using various tests, such as an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  The diagnosis of spondylolisthesis is confirmed by noting the forward position of one vertebral body on another.

Treatment

For most patients without signs of significant nerve compression or neurological impairment, the first line of treatment consists of non-surgical therapies such as medication, rest and physical therapy.  Bracing is also a consideration, along with epidural steroid injections.

Spine surgery is usually considered only after conservative therapies have failed to adequately relieve symptoms.

Surgical procedures that may be considered for treatment of sciatica include:

  • Spinal decompression or laminectomy in which bone along with offending ligamentum flavum is removed to relieve compression on the nerves.
  • Spinal fusion, which is a procedure in which bone graft along with instrumentation is placed between vertebrae to fuse together and is generally reserved for patients who have instability, or spondylolisthesis.

If you have any questions about treatment options available to you please contact our office locations which are conveniently located to Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville.

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