A sciatica specialist in Los Angeles can help you find relief from pain.
Sciatica is the medical term used to describe a condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve. This is the largest nerve group found in the human body. It starts in the lower back and runs through the buttocks, down the hip and along the leg.
- The pain usually centers around the lower back but can radiate down and along one or both legs.
- A sciatica specialist in Los Angeles can help you recover from sciatic pain.
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What Causes Sciatica?
Though some experience sciatic nerve pain because of an injury to the body, it can also occur because of strain or overuse. After you move to a new home and spend hours bending down to lift and unpack boxes, you may notice some uncomfortable pain in your lower back. It is also common among those who experience frequent muscle spasms and women who are pregnant. A muscle spasm causes the muscle to grip tightly around the nerve group, which can cause more pain. Other common causes of sciatica include degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, and a slipped vertebra.
Symptoms of Sciatica
People who suffer from sciatica can experience a range of symptoms. The most common of those symptoms is lower back pain. This pain typically affects only the right or the left side, but it’s possible to experience pain on both side or pain that moves between the right and left sides. This pain typically follows a path that feels like a straight line. It moves from the back to the hip and buttocks. The pain can also extend further down the leg and affect your upper leg and thigh area as well as the knee and calf. Many people also experience numbness or a pins and needles sensation that feels like small pins inserted into the body. As the sciatic nerve pain worsens, it can cause an electrical or tingling sensation too.
Diagnosing the Problem
When you see a sciatica specialist in Los Angeles, the specialist will listen as you describe your symptoms and then take steps to diagnose the condition. This may involve the use of an x-ray machine. The x-ray can reveal the presence of any bone spurs or unusual growths on your back. Those growths put added pressure on your back and spine. A growth can also cause the spine to press against your nerve, which causes your pain. Another method of diagnosing sciatica is with a CT scan. The specialist will inject a special type of dye into your back that shows up during the scan. It allows the specialist to get a better look at your back. Doctors can also use an EMG to see how your body responds to electrical stimulation. This also shows the doctor what causes your pain.
Medications for Sciatica
Doctors recommend different types of medications for sciatica based on the symptoms that a patient experiences, and whether the patient tried any medications in the past. Anti-inflammatory medications are among the most popular. These medications relieve the pain that you feel but also help with any swelling that you experience. That swelling can further compress the nerve and make your pain even worse. You can also take muscle relaxers, including both prescription and generic relaxers. These medications help with the muscle cramps that worsen your pain. You can take one at the first sign of a muscle spasm or before you experience any pain. Doctors may also prescribe some prescription medications. Taking this type of medication can help in the early days and later on if your sciatica worsens. The doctor may monitor you for any signs of misuse.
Other treatments for sciatica can include steroid injections. The specialist will inject the steroid directly into the affected area of your body to reduce your pain. This can immediately stop the inflammation that you have and help you feel better before you finish your appointment. The effects of the steroid will last for two to three months, and some find that they experience relief even longer. In a small number of cases, the specialist will recommend surgery. This is usually a last resort that doctors only recommend for patients who have serious complications caused by the sciatic nerve pain such as the inability to control his or her bowels or pain that does not go away with other treatments. Your doctor may encourage you to make lifestyle changes and/or go through physical therapy. Ultimately, seeing a sciatica specialist in Los Angeles can help you learn how to reduce your own pain.