The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It controls the muscles and provides feeling to most of your leg. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed - due to a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, an injury or the weight of pregnancy - causing shooting pain in the lower back and legs, weakness and tingling. In some cases, sciatica goes away on its own. But, if your pain persists despite self-care, like rest and over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an SSM Health provider for an evaluation. Our back and spine specialists understand how back pain can disrupt your life. We will do everything we can to help you find relief as quickly and safely as possible.
Signs & Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica symptoms usually only occur on one side of the body and can include:
- Pain in the lower back and buttock
- Pain, numbness or weakness in the leg and foot
- Tingling or pricking in the leg
- Difficulty moving or controlling the leg
Treatment for sciatica depends on the cause of the symptoms. Sciatic pain that results from a herniated disc often dissipates over weeks or months. For other causes, initial treatment is typically conservative and includes:
- Bed rest
- Physical therapy
- Medicines, such as muscle relaxers or NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs)
Should sciatica symptoms persist, your physician may recommend surgery to relieve the pain. In most cases, a discectomy is performed, removing part of, or an entire, disc.
Your SSM Health back and spine team can help you evaluate your treatment options and determine the best way forward. We understand that you’re anxious to find relief from your back pain, so you can get back to your daily activities. Find an SSM Health provider today to get the comprehensive, compassionate care you deserve.