Our interventional pain physician, Dr. Anil K. Sharma, is a leading practitioner of state-of-the-art techniques specializing in the use of minimally-invasive techniques to treat spinal disorders. He has performed over 70,000 spinal procedures in his 27+ years of clinical practice.
Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed by the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord into the lower back. It goes down through the buttock; then, its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Symptoms of sciatica include pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot. Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur.
Causes of Sciatica
The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc (herniated disc) in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine, such as:
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
- Bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along joints) caused by arthritis
- Nerve root compression (pinched nerve) caused by injury
In rare cases, sciatica can also be caused by conditions that do not involve the spine, such as tumors or pyriformis muscle.
Diagnosis of Sciatica
Sciatica is diagnosed by reviewing medical history and physical exam. Sometimes X-rays and tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are done to help find the cause of the sciatica.
Learn more about sciatica by watching an educational video.