Sciatica is a significant health complication that often causes low back and leg pain that can be debilitating if it fails to go away. Generally, the symptoms result from neurological pain due to irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Since your sciatic nerve runs from the spinal cord through the buttocks and thighs to your legs, you can experience pain in any of these parts. Understanding the root cause of your symptoms is critical in evaluating the best treatment approach and the Roswell sciatica specialists can help you. Additionally, here are several ways you can identify the cause of your symptoms.
Recognize a Herniated or Slipped Spinal Disc
Most sciatica cases are often associated with a herniated disc. Your spinal column is made of several vertebrae with nerves as protection. Discs between each vertebra offer support to the vertebrae and ensure they are in place. The discs are made of a fibrous jelly material and can rupture, releasing the gel and causing the disc to slip. This can insert pressure on the underlying sciatic nerve causing sciatica. This could happen due to trauma, heavy lifting, wrong movement, or natural aging.
Consider Spinal Stenosis
Your spinal cord runs through the spinal lumen. This area can narrow down, causing nerve irritation significantly if it narrows at the lumbar region. This can be seen if there is damage or changes to the spinal ligaments. The situation can occur due to aging, or Paget’s disease can cause a difference in the ligaments damaging the spinal structure.
Consider Other Causes of Sciatica
Many factors can contribute to sciatica. Injury, tumor formation, or infection in the lumbar part of your spine can exert pressure on your nerve, causing painful symptoms. Also, piriformis syndrome can lead to sciatica symptoms by irritating and pressing the nerve as it runs through the piriformis muscle in your buttocks. Additionally, pregnancy can contribute to sciatica. Remember that you will gain additional weight of the fetus, which can cause increased pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Get a Medical Diagnosis
If you suspect your back or leg pain is due to sciatica, you can confirm with an expert diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and suspicions, like if you have had an injury or trauma. Visit your doctor and get a comprehensive medical assessment to get to the root of your symptoms. Your provider will also perform a physical examination to locate your pain and estimate the leading causes of your pain. Physical activity will help your doctor understand if the pain originates from the spine or elsewhere. Additionally, you can get a straight leg test to test your reflexes and confirm or rule out if you are suffering from sciatica.
Get Additional Tests
Several tests can be put together to determine your symptoms and condition. Your doctor can order several blood tests to test for any infection in your spine or rule out the possibility. Also, your doctor can recommend imagery tests like x-ray and CT scans to see if you have a herniated disc or other spinal deformities that could be responsible for your symptoms. Additionally, they can order MRIs, which are more detailed to assess the condition of your bones and nerves.
Back or leg pain that won’t go away can signify chronic sciatica. Getting an accurate diagnosis for medical professionals is an excellent step toward understanding your symptoms and getting effective treatment. Get in touch with the sciatica specialists at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center via call or online for help.