A shooting, sometimes stabbing pain that goes from your lower back down one leg is a tell-tale symptom of sciatica, but it's important to get a diagnosis from an expert. Board-certified neurosurgeon Richard Kim MD MS Inc provides advanced diagnostic services and the most up-to-date treatment options for sciatica at his offices in Newport Beach, CA and Orange, CA. For effective relief from your back pain, call the office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kim or book an appointment online.
Sciatica is a common condition that causes lower back pain. It's a form of radiculopathy, which means the cause is due to pressure on one of the nerves in your spine. In this case, it's the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower part of your spine into your pelvis and down each leg.
Sciatica usually develops when a disc in your lumbar spine starts bulging or herniates. The material inside the disc presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain that travels along the path of the nerve. Another possible cause is a bone spur.
Sciatica pain typically affects one leg, even though the sciatic nerve branches off into both legs. The pain might be sharp or cramping, getting worse when you move or if you cough or sneeze.
You might also experience a sensation like "pins and needles," or other odd feelings like tingling or burning. Sciatica can also cause your affected leg to feel numb and weak.
The symptoms you're experiencing give Dr. Kim an indication that you might have sciatica, but other conditions like piriformis syndrome can also cause similar symptoms.
To confirm a diagnosis, Dr. Kim might use diagnostic tests such as:
Using these advanced technologies, Dr. Kim can detect the cause of your sciatica, enabling him to create a suitable treatment program.
In many cases, sciatica pain resolves with a combination of rest, gentle exercise, physical therapy, and the application of heat and cold (heat eases pain, cold reduces inflammation).
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are often sufficient to manage pain and lessen inflammation. If not, you might need steroid injections, a more potent form of anti-inflammatory.
These approaches are successful for most patients who have sciatica. If you're still experiencing back and leg pain after several months of treatment, Dr. Kim might discuss the surgical options with you.
Laminotomy with discectomy is a very effective way of relieving chronic sciatica caused by a herniated disc. If you have bone spurs, Dr. Kim can surgically remove the excess bone to relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve.
For effective solutions to the distressing symptoms of sciatica, call Richard Kim MD MS Inc today, or book an appointment online.