Dunedin Sciatica Doctor
The pain associated with sciatica can be severe. Fortunately, most cases of sciatica go away in a few days with conservative treatment. However, if your pain persists, or is severe, it is time to seek medical attention.
A Dunedin sciatica doctor can help you obtain the relief you need to pursue your daily tasks. If sciatica does not go away, it can cause permanent nerve damage. To avoid this, work with a knowledgeable doctor who can help.
Irritating the Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is the primary nerve traveling down the legs, and is the largest nerve in the body. It provides sensation to the skin on the foot as well as to the lower leg with the exception of the inner area. If the sciatic nerve is compressed or otherwise irritated, the result is sciatica. Sciatica often results from some form of lower back issue. This may include:
- Degenerated discs – Spinal discs tend to weaken with age and a degenerating disc may irritate local nerve roots
- Herniated discs – When the gel-like material inside a disc protrudes beyond the hard outer shell, nerve irritation may result
- Piriformis syndrome – The piriformis muscle in the buttocks may pinch the sciatic nerve, which runs beneath it
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction – The sacroiliac joint, located at the spine’s bottom, may irritate a nerve lying above the sciatic nerve
- Spinal stenosis – The spinal canal narrows and causes nerve compression
- Spondylolisthesis – A stress fracture may cause one vertebra to fall atop another, resulting in pinched nerves
While sciatica may affect anyone, some people are more vulnerable than others. Risk factors for sciatica include:
- Age – Older people experience sciatica more frequently
- Weight – Obesity contributes to sciatica, as the excess weights stresses the spine
- Sedentary lifestyle – Those who sit at work all day or who seldom exercise are more likely to develop sciatica than more active people
- Occupation – Jobs requiring a great deal of lifting or twisting of the back and those that require a lot of driving may cause sciatica
- Diabetics – Nerve damage due to blood sugar changes may increase the odds of sciatica
Anyone experiencing pain from the back or buttocks down the back of one leg should suspect sciatica. Sneezing or coughing usually increases the pain level. The pain is often excruciating and may feel like electricity coursing through the body or a burning sensation. In some people, the affected leg also feels weak or becomes numb.
If symptoms are accompanied by a loss of bladder or bowel function, or the pain started after an accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A Dunedin sciatica doctor can help determine whether the specific symptoms are being caused by sciatica.
Treatment for Dunedin Residents
The doctor performs a complete physical examination, which may include having the patient execute various positions for diagnostic purposes. The doctor may recommend physical therapy along with pain medication, muscle relaxants, or spinal injections of corticosteroids for pain relief.
When pain does not improve, the doctor may conduct X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to see if an underlying issue is to blame. Depending on the test results, some people may require surgery to correct the problem causing their sciatica. In many cases, such as with herniated discs, minimally invasive surgery can help.
Speak with a Dunedin Sciatica Doctor
If your sciatica has not improved after a week or so after self-treatment, it is time to seek help. A Dunedin sciatica doctor can determine if any underlying issues are to blame and find a treatment option that works for your specific symptoms. To learn more, call today.