Sciatica is the pain caused by a compression or irritation of a nerve in the lower back. This compression results in a tingling or numbing sensation in the back that can radiate pain down one of the sciatic nerves in the leg.

Sciatica is most often caused by disc-related issues in the lower back. Sciatica in adults under 60 years old is often the result of a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease or stress fractures in the lower back. Adults over the age of 60 more commonly experience sciatic pain because of arthritis, degeneration of the spinal column or misalignment of vertebrae in the lower back.

Severe sciatic pain can drastically impact your day-to-day life by keeping you awake at night or making it difficult to stand and walk.

Symptoms associated with sciatica

  • Low back pain
  • Sharp, burning sensation in lower back
  • Tingling or numbness in one leg
  • Muscle weakness in affected leg or foot
  • Hip and/or buttocks pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Illustration showing areas on human lower body areas of pain.

Diagnosing sciatica

Our pain management doctors will typically start with an MRI or CT scan to assess the source of your sciatic pain. Once the source is identified, our pain specialists will discuss the best treatments to get you relief and back to doing the activities you love.

Treatments for sciatica

Movement is an important part of the overall treatment for sciatica, in order to reduce inflammation. Sometimes sciatic pain will dissipate on its own, with the help of physical therapy or exercises. Anti-inflammatory or oral steroid medications may also help patients find some relief but do not offer a long-term solution.

For many patients, epidural injections are effective in relieving the low back and leg pain caused by sciatica. These injections are a minimally invasive procedure performed here at the Pain Center, where pain medication is targeted directly to the root of the compressed nerve, reducing inflammation and irritation. Following an epidural injection, patients often can return to normal physical activity.

Common treatments offered at the Pain Center for sciatica

  • Physical therapy
  • Disc decompression
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Trigger point injections

If conservative, non-surgical methods do not offer relief, there are surgical options to relieve sciatic pain. Our expert pain management doctors at the Pain Center are here to find the right course of treatment for your needs and, when necessary, will work with our affiliates at the Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital and Abay Neuroscience Center to help you prepare for that process.

If sciatic pain has impacted your life, ask your doctor about the Pain Center at Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital, or call 316-462-5072.