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The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas

Orthopedic Surgeon location in Pearland & Lake Jackson, TX

Sciatica may begin as an aggravating lower backache, but it can rapidly become the kind of debilitating and unrelenting pain that radiates down one of your legs, sometimes reaching as far as your toes. At The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas in Pearland, Houston, and Lake Jackson, Texas, Dr. Thomas Jones II offers comprehensive treatment solutions for patients affected by chronic sciatic nerve pain. To learn more, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is the sciatic nerve?

As the largest and longest nerve in your body, your sciatic nerve essentially connects your spinal cord to the muscles of your lower legs and feet. It’s rooted in your lumbar spine, or the vertebrae of your lower back, and extends through your hips, buttocks, and down each leg, where it helps you feel and control your lower body.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, occurs when something compresses or crowds your sciatic nerve where it’s rooted to your spine. While it often begins as an irritating ache or bothersome pain in your lower back, the pain may radiate down one of your legs if the underlying cause of the problem becomes aggravated or worsens.  

The most common causes of sciatic nerve impingement and pain are:

Disc problems

A bulging or ruptured spinal disc can put ongoing pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Spinal misalignment

Lower back vertebrae that are even slightly compressed or out of alignment can impinge upon the sciatic nerve root.

Piriformis syndrome

Your piriformis muscle is situated directly over your sciatic nerve. When it becomes too tight or spasms, it can put direct pressure on the nerve.

Traumatic injury

Any injury along the path of your sciatic nerve, including a pelvic fracture, may cause sciatic nerve pain.

Spinal stenosis

A narrowing of the spinal canal, which is generally an age-related condition, can push on your sciatic nerve.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

The tell-tale sign of sciatica is persistent pain that extends from your lower back down into your buttock; it may also extend through the back of your thigh, down into your calf, and possibly as far as your toes.

Sciatica may feel like a mild burning sensation or a sharp jolt. It typically worsens after long stretches of sitting or standing and may be triggered or intensified by minor movements like reaching or sneezing.   

How is sciatica treated?

Sciatica may progress slowly, but it usually intensifies over time and may even become a permanent condition if it isn’t treated. Fortunately, sciatica often responds well to a combination of non-invasive approaches, including:

  • Heat and/or ice
  • Anti-inflammatory pain medication
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Epidural steroid injections

The overriding goal of any sciatica treatment plan is to correct the underlying problem when possible, reduce or eliminate pain, and restore full functionality.      

Whether you suspect you have sciatica or you’ve been living with it for far too long, Dr. Jones can help. Call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.