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Sciatica pain relief can be found through Laser Spine Institute’s unique, comprehensive patient care available in Tampa

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, running from the lumbar spine through both legs. Sciatica is the term used to describe compression or irritation to this nerve and is generally caused by other spinal conditions, such as bulging discs or bone spurs. Often, sciatica refers to the pain that travels from the lower back, down the buttock and leg and into the foot. Sometimes this pain can also be felt in the hip, though the nerve pathway does not travel through the hip area.

At Laser Spine Institute, we understand the impact that sciatic pain can have on your overall quality of life. We often treat patients who have suffered from this pain for years, unable to do any of their normal life activities. If you have been living with this pain and have noticed a decrease in your quality of life, we encourage you to take the next step to find relief and wellness. Contact our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute to discuss the nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available to you to help treat your sciatica pain and symptoms.

Diagnosing sciatica

If you suspect you may be suffering from sciatica, schedule an appointment with your physician. He or she can help you obtain a definitive diagnosis, as well as recommend a course of treatment that will be most effective in treating your condition. To do this, your physician will probably first ask you questions about your lifestyle and medical history to determine if you have any risk factors for sciatica. These may include tobacco use, being middle age and working a job that demands repetitive bending or twisting motions. Then, you physician may conduct a physical exam to get a better sense of your range of motion. In some cases, this is all that is necessary to diagnose sciatica. For others, more extensive testing may be required, in which case your physician may recommend getting a nerve root block, X-ray, CT scan or MRI.

Sciatica causes

Most often, sciatica is caused by a degenerative spine condition, which can develop as years of everyday wear and tear cause the spine to wear down. These conditions can also be brought on prematurely by excessive weight gain, trauma or repetitive bending motions, and may include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • A bulging or herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis

Sciatica symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms associated with sciatica include:

  • Trouble with comfortable sitting or sleeping
  • Inability to stand or walk for a prolonged period of time
  • Radiating pain into lower body
  • Tingling in legs or feet
  • Numbness in legs or feet
  • Pain in an isolated area
  • Weakness

Nonsurgical treatments for sciatica

The first step toward finding pain relief for your sciatica pain is to start a regimen of conservative treatments aimed at relieving pain and decompressing the sciatic nerve by lengthening and stretching the spine. These can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioid pain medication for severe pain, hot/cold therapy, epidural steroid injections and physical therapy. These treatments are all that is necessary for many patients to achieve sufficient relief from the symptoms of sciatica.

In addition to conservative methods, alternative methods of sciatica treatment may be beneficial to patients suffering from this condition. Alternative treatments are not widely accepted among physicians, though patients have reported finding relief through methods like chiropractic manipulation, message, acupuncture, herbal supplements, yoga and Pilates. Before you begin any methods of alternative sciatica treatment on your own, be sure to consult with your physician to ensure they will not worsen your condition.

Sciatica surgery available at Laser Spine Institute

After exhausting nonsurgical options, if you have not found relief, surgery may be the best solution for you and your specific type of sciatica. Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective treatment option than traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and has a 98 patient satisfaction score^. We offer the following minimally invasive procedures to help treat sciatica and other spine conditions:

  • Foraminotomy — during the foraminotomy, the surgeon is able to release the pressure that is being placed on the nerves exiting the spinal cord through the foramen
  • Laminotomy — during the laminotomy, the surgeon is able to relieve the pressure that is being placed on the spinal cord
  • Discectomy — this allows the surgeon to remove any disc material that may be compressing the sciatic nerve
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) — this allows the surgeon to remove the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve by replacing the disc with a spacer and bone graft
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion — this procedure allows the surgeon to remove any disc material that is restricting the sciatic nerve, replacing it with a spacer and bone graft, fusing the adjacent vertebrae to prevent future instability

For more information regarding the sciatica treatments available at Laser Spine Institute’s Tampa center, contact us today and ask for a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you may be a candidate.