What is it?
Sciatica is a general term indicating pain that starts in the back or buttock and radiates down into the lower extremities.
What causes it?
Sciatica is caused by a nerve being compressed or “pinched”. This causes the nerve to shoot pain down into the lower extremities in the distribution of the nerve. The causes of compression can be anything from a herniated disc in the spine or a tight muscle around the nerve.
How can it be treated?
Treatment starts with identifying where the nerve is being compressed. Conservative measures such as heat/ice, physical therapy, chiropractor therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications are generally first line therapy. If these conservative measures do not relieve the pain, epidural steroid injections, or injection of steroids into the involved muscle is the next step. If these treatments do not relieve the pain, a patient may be a candidate for peripheral nerve stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, or other more invasive therapy.