The Shooting Pain of Sciatica

OK, so you’re headed over to Phoenix to catch a Diamondbacks game and suddenly your leg on the accelerator starts burning and is painful. Or your butt has the same feeling. You may even have shooting pain down one or both legs.

Sounds like you may be having a bout of sciatica. Sciatica is pain originating in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the back of your legs. At Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, we help patients deal with sciatica.

What is sciatica?

Many people bandy the term sciatica about, but aren’t really sure what it is. Sciatica is inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, stretching from the spinal cord to the end of each leg. Sciatica generally develops over time as the nerve is compressed. Sciatica is characterized by pain along the nerve pathway, as well as numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected muscles.

What causes sciatica?

The compression of the sciatic nerve is often the result of a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. In a herniated disc, the bulging disc can push on the sciatic nerve. In stenosis, the spinal canal narrows over time usually due to a bone spur and begins to push on the nerve.

These are some other causes of sciatica:

  • Piriformis syndrome, a muscle disorder
  • Nerve damage from diabetes
  • Pelvic injury
  • Tumor
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle spasms in the back or buttocks
  • Extended periods sitting or driving

Symptoms of sciatica

These are the common symptoms associated with sciatica:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the butt or leg that occurs when sitting
  • Hip pain
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness or numbness when moving a leg or foot
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
  • A constant pain on one side of the buttocks

Treatment of sciatica

At Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, Dr. Trujillo treats sciatica with a variety of approaches. These may begin with ice packs, physical therapy, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory corticosteroid injections. From there, he may progress to radiofrequency ablation in more extreme cases.

If you have shooting pain down your legs while sitting or driving, call us at (928) 532-1605, and let’s get to work relieving your pain.

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