At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced spine surgeons offer treatment options for a wide range of back conditions that result in sciatica. From conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, to advanced spinal surgery, our team has the experience and knowledge to help you get back to your normal, pain-free life. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and recommend surgical options only when necessary, ensuring the quickest recovery possible.
What is sciatica?
It is the painful and uncomfortable sensation that is often associated with a tingling, numbing, or electric shock feeling that goes from the back through the buttocks and down the back of the legs. For some patients, this pain can be so severe that it interferes with everyday activities and tasks. Usually the result of a pinched nerve in the back, sciatica is a symptom of an underlying back condition.
What are the causes?
Most of the time, sciatica is a sign that you have an underlying spinal condition that is causing pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs down the back and legs. Some of the most common back injuries and conditions that result in this type of nerve pain include:
What are the symptoms?
It is important to visit an orthopedic specialist if you are suffering from any of these common symptoms of sciatica:
- Pain in the back, buttocks, or legs
- Tingling in the back, buttocks, or legs
- Numbness in the back, buttocks, or legs
- An “electric shock” feeling that runs through the lower back and legs
How is it diagnosed?
At the first signs of sciatica, it is important to speak with a neck and back specialist. MedStar Orthopaedic Institute is home to experts in a wide range of spine conditions who have years of experience diagnosing and treating back conditions. Your initial exam will likely include the following:
- Medical history evaluation – Your physician will discuss your medical history with you and any relevant prior health problems.
- Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate the affected area and may ask you to describe the pain.
- Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will also likely conduct imaging studies to rule out a fracture and accurately diagnose your back condition.
What are the best treatment options?
Sometimes, sciatica indicates a back problem that can heal on its own with conservative therapies. In these cases, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following nerve pain relief options:
- Avoiding activities that increase symptoms
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications or pain medications
If conservative options are unsuccessful or when sciatica indicates a more serious back condition, our physicians at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute may recommend any of the following treatment options:
- Minimally invasive spine surgery
- Motion-sparing surgery
- Thoracic and lumbar fusion
- Thoracic and lumbar decompression
If you are suffering from sciatica back pain, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating spinal conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive spine care in the Washington, D.C. area.