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Comprehensive and Personalized Care for Sciatica

University Hospitals offers personalized treatment plans for patients with sciatica, a shooting pain that begins in the lower back and radiates into the buttocks and down the back of one leg.

Fortunately, only 10 to 25 percent of sciatica cases last for more than six weeks and about 80 to 90 percent of patients with this condition recover without surgical intervention. UH spine specialists are highly skilled and experienced in diagnosing and developing sciatica treatments that you’re your personal health conditions and goals. Our goal is your goal – a successful outcome so you’re able to get back to your normal quality of life.

It is important to see a spine specialist as soon as possible to prevent sciatica-related complications, such as increased pain, loss of feeling or weakness in the affected leg, loss of bowel or bladder function and permanent nerve damage.

Sciatica Causes

If you are living with sciatica, you may feel a cramp in your leg that worsens when you cough, sneeze or sit. You may also experience numbness or burning or tingling along your leg.

There are several conditions that may irritate or compress the sciatic nerve, the main nerve in your leg and the largest nerve in your body, and lead to sciatica. Some of these conditions include:

  • Herniated disc: A herniated disc arises when some of the disc material in your back pops out of place and bulges.
  • Osteoarthritis: Known as the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is widely seen in older patients and causes pain, swelling and reduced range of motion in your joints.
  • Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine and can put pressure on your nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis: A condition in which one bone in your back slides over the bone below it is referred to as spondylolisthesis.
  • Trauma: An injury or fall may fracture your spine or tear a muscle and damage your nerves.

Wide Range of Conservative Treatments

Sciatica treatment begins with conservative measures and self-care. In many cases, these types of treatments will correct the issue, restore function and prevent sciatica from recurring. Our spine specialists may suggest these treatments:

  • Medications: Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are examples of over-the-counter pain medications that may bring you relief from sciatica pain.
  • Muscle relaxants: If you are suffering from spasms, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed as a medication for sciatica.
  • Physical therapy: Our physical therapists can educate you on proper lifting and walking techniques. They may also recommend special sciatica exercises to help you strengthen and stretch your lower back and leg.
  • Self-care: Self-care involves rest, ice or heat and gentle stretches you can perform at home for sciatic nerve pain relief.
  • Steroid injections: Epidural steroid injections and facet steroid injections may reduce nerve swelling and inflammation.

Surgery is rarely needed for patients with sciatica. However, if you are coping with muscle weakness, a herniated disc or severe pain that has not subsided after conservative treatments, surgery may be necessary. Our spine surgeons may conduct these surgeries:

  • Discectomy: The purpose of a minimally invasive discectomy is to remove the portion of the disc that is compressing the spinal nerve.
  • Laminectomy: In a laminectomy, a surgeon will remove part of or all of the vertebral bone called the lamina to relieve compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Contact Our Spine Specialists for Sciatica Relief

If you believe you have sciatica or are searching for ways to find relief from this uncomfortable spinal condition, contact our spine specialists at University Hospitals to learn more or schedule an appointment. Call us today at 216-286-8888 to find a convenient location near you.