Sciatica symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatments by the spine specialists at KBNI.

Sciatica Treatment

Pain in the Legs

Sciatica symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatments by the spine specialists at KBNI.

Sciatica refers to the feeling of symptoms traveling down the lower extremities which results from pressure on a nerve, usually as the nerve courses through the lumbar spine or as it leaves the lumbar spine. It is more of a symptom than a diagnosis. We consider it a symptom because it is what the patient might feel subjectively traveling down the leg.

There may be several different causes of sciatica, such as a Herniated Disc, Spinal Stenosis, Osteophytes or Spondylolisthesis. While these conditions are diagnoses which may cause sciatica, sciatica is a symptom of these diagnoses or disease pathologies.

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Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica refers to the feeling of numbness, tingling, pain or weakness which one can feel traveling down the leg. It is generally caused by pressure on a nerve as it passes through or leaves the lumbar spine. If there is only mild pressure on the nerve, numbness or tingling may result. If there is more severe pressure, then pain or even weakness may occur.

Causes

Pressure on the nerves in the lumbar spine is usually caused by herniated discs, spinal stenosis, osteophytes, or spondylolisthesis. There may be pressure on the nerves as they pass through different compartments of the leg (known as compartment syndromes) but these are less common.

Diagnosis

In order to determine what is causing sciatica, it is first necessary to obtain a complete history from the patient, followed by a detailed physical examination. The next step is to confirm the findings with diagnostic studies. An MRI scan is a very sensitive study which will show herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis or other disorders causing pressure upon the nerves and the spine. If this does not give sufficient detail or if there are remaining questions, a myelogram followed by a CT scan of the spine may provide more information.

While these imaging studies are excellent at showing the anatomy of the spine, they do not give information about the function of the nerves. An EMG/nerve conduction study may help to provide more information about the actual functioning of the nerves.

Risk Factors/Prevention

Since sciatica is a symptom and not a diagnosis, please refer to the conditions of the various diagnoses which can cause sciatica under Herniated Disc, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Arthritis.

Treatments

Please look under: Herniated Disc, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Arthritis.

Prognosis

Please look under: Herniated Disc, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, and Arthritis.

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For more information on Sciatica Joint Pain or for a consultation at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute please call:

281.44.NEURO (281.446.3876)