Sciatica, a Common Form of a Pinched Spinal Nerve
Sciatica is a general term describing a collection of symptoms that result from spinal compression of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, which runs from the base of the spine down through both legs. A nerve bundle about one inch wide, the sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg and the sole of the foot. When the nerve is impinged due to a pinched disc, herniated disc, disc protrusion, bone spur or other spinal problem in the lower back, sciatica can occur. Sciatica can be caused by changes to the spinal column resulting from the normal aging process, which can result in disc protrusion, herniation, and other spinal problems associated with degenerative disc disease. Sciatica may also be caused by injury, prolonged external pressure on the nerve such as from a tumor or abscess, and even diseases that affect the entire body, such as diabetes. Sciatica can cause pain that originates in the lower back and extends through the buttocks, legs and feet. Shooting pain in the legs, cramping, muscle weakness, tingling sensation and numbness are also common symptoms of sciatica. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body, but it can affect both, and in severe cases sciatica can result in loss of mobility.
Dealing with Sciatica
Nonsurgical treatments for sciatica include rest, special exercises for relief of sciatica, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. In severe cases surgery for sciatica can be an option. Today, minimally invasive spinal surgery such as laser spinal surgery and endoscopic surgery offer additional treatment options. At New Jersey Spine Specialists in Summit and Montclair, we treat patients from Short Hills, Florham Park, and communities throughout Union, Morris, Essex, Somerset and Middlesex Counties for sciatica and other spinal conditions. With a national reputation for excellence in advanced spinal care procedures, patients travel from around the world for treatment at New Jersey Spine Specialists. If you have a spinal problem, our board certified orthopedic surgeons can explain how state-of-the-art tools and minimally invasive procedures can help you. Call or email us today to schedule a consultation.