If you have sciatica, you’re all too familiar with the burning, tingling pain — and often muscle weakness — that radiates down your buttocks and thighs. Interventional pain specialist Dr. Jeff M. Arthur can help you identify the source of the nerve compression and help resolve sciatica pain. If you live in Kingwood, Texas, or the surrounding area, call or book an appointment online today to find relief from your sciatica pain.

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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is actually a symptom, not a condition. It occurs when the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body that descends from your lower spinal cord down the back of your thigh, becomes compressed. As a result, you experience pain and dysfunction in your buttocks and legs. Most cases of assumed sciatica are actually compression of spinal nerves not the sciatic nerve. These compressed nerves can also cause pain to radiate down the extremity and are much more common.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica pain can manifest in the lower back, buttocks, the back of the thigh, and/or the lower leg and foot. If you do have pain in the lower back associated with sciatica, it’s usually not as severe as the pain in your leg. Specific symptoms include:

  • A sharp pain that could be described as burning, electrical, or searing
  • Pain that worsens when you stand or sit still
  • Pins-and-needles sensations or weakness

What causes sciatica?

Spinal disc herniation is a common cause of symptoms that mimic sciatica, but is correctly diagnosed as radiculopathy. In this situation, the disc, which serves as a cushion between the vertebrae, pushes out and compresses the nerve roots. You might experience disc herniation due to wear and tear, trauma, or improper heavy lifting techniques.

Sciatica may also be caused by a tight piriformis muscle in the buttock. It can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms.

How is sciatica treated?

Dr. Arthur determines the root cause of your sciatica with precise diagnostic testing that includes a review of your symptoms, a comprehensive physical exam, and in some cases, imaging tests. He seeks to help you find a pain management alternative to the chronic use of oral over-the-counter and prescription medications. Depending on the cause of your sciatica or radiculopathy, Dr. Arthur may recommend epidural nerve root injections, physical therapy, or nerve / spinal stimulation.

Dr. Arthur directs epidural steroid injections into the space through which the nerves travel and branch out into other parts of your body. This epidural space surrounds the membrane that holds spinal fluid around your spinal cord and nerve roots. The injection sends steroids straight to the inflamed nerve roots. You may need two to three injections to thoroughly resolve your pain.

If you need relief from sciatica pain, call or book an appointment online with pain management specialist Dr. Jeff M. Arthur today.