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Sciatica causes and treatment options explained by Laser Spine Institute’s Scottsdale, Arizona, surgery center

Sciatica is a form of nerve dysfunction that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or damaged. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and extends from the lumbar spine (lower back area) through the buttocks to the legs and feet. Sciatica is most frequently the result of another degenerative spine condition, such as a bulging disc or a bone spur, which is causing the compression of the sciatic nerve.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, your treatment options will depend on the location and severity of the symptoms you are experiencing. Some common symptoms include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning pain in the buttocks or down the leg
  • Sensation changes
  • Weakness in the legs, knees or feet
  • Loss of mobility

Conservative and alternative methods of sciatica treatment

Depending on the underlying condition that is causing your symptoms, your physician will likely recommend that you attempt a combination of conservative sciatica treatment options for several weeks or months to help you find relief. Over-the-counter medications and epidural steroid injections can help with the pain and inflammation, while stretching and strengthening exercises could potentially help reduce the strain on your spine. You may also want to try behavior modifications, such as avoiding heavy lifting and being more cognizant of your posture, to help alleviate the pressure on your spine.

Many patients also extol the virtues of alternative sciatica treatment options, such as chiropractic care, yoga, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and Pilates, though the clinical effectiveness of these treatments remains a point of debate.

Surgical sciatica treatment at Laser Spine Institute

You should only consider surgery as a sciatica treatment option if you’ve exhausted your conservative and alternative options and your symptoms have persisted or have become more severe. At Laser Spine Institute, we are the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, and patients who undergo outpatient surgery at our Scottsdale, Arizona, surgery center are often able to walk the same day.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute today to find out if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.