Sciatica is a term used to describe pain, numbness, and sometimes weakness that shoots from the low back or buttock, down the leg. Sciatica is a symptom, not a disease itself.
What is the sciatic nerve?
The sciatic nerve is a large collection/bundle of numerous individual nerves that originate from the low back. These smaller nerves exit the spine at each level (one on each side), then come together in the buttock region. This sciatic nerve can pierce right through the piriformis muscle in some people.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica is typically caused by either, (1) pinching of a spinal nerve in the low back, or (2) irritation/pinching of the actual sciatic nerve as it passes through the piriformis muscle.
Symptoms of sciatica (*will likely only feel some of these symptoms)
Low back pain
Numbness and/or tingling in the leg/foot
Diagnostic workup of sciatica
For pinched nerves in the back: If it is felt that the sciatica pain is coming from the low back nerves being pinched, an MRI of the lumbar spine will likely be ordered if you fail to get relief from anti-inflammatories and possibly physical therapy.
For piriformis muscle: If the piriformis muscle is thought to be the source of the pinching, stretching of the piriformis muscle in the clinic will be done. Stretching the painful side causes much more pain than stretching the pain-free side.
Treatment options for sciatica pain
For pinched nerves in the back: Anti-inflammatories medications, physical therapy, pain injections (epidural steorid injections) and as a last resort, surgery.
For piriformis muscle: Anti-inflammatories medications, physical therapy (particularly stretching the piriformis muscle), pain injections (into the muscle to help relax it) and as a last resort, surgery.
Communities Serviced -
Dr. Faubel has helped patients with low back and neck pain from nearby Crystal Lake, Lake In The Hills, McHenry, Huntley, Dundee, Gilberts, Carpentersville, Woodstock, Wonder Lake, Barrington, Prairie Grove, Cary, Spring Grove, Genoa City, and Elgin, Illinois. Patients have come from as far away as Rockford, Illinois, and communities in southern Wisconsin and western Indiana.