Are you dealing with the shooting pain and other discomfort sciatica brings? The team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, wants to help.
Sciatic neuritis describes the pain you experience when your sciatic nerve gets compressed. Most people call this “sciatica.” The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, across your hips and buttocks, and down your legs.
Conditions that affect your spine often trigger sciatica. Some of the most common include:
- Spinal infection
- Spinal inflammation
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
You can also experience sciatica when you’re pregnant or as your body experiences the normal wear and tear related to aging.
Sciatica pain usually starts in your low back or buttocks and goes down the back of one of your legs. It can feel like a stabbing, shooting, or dull, achy pain. And it often gets worse with long periods of sitting or with walking.
Our specialists at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, Dr. John Huffman and Dr. Talal Ghazal, offer different therapeutic approaches to treat sciatica so you can find relief. Our team begins with accurately diagnosing the cause of your pain so you get effective help.
We also want you to know that while sciatica may be a literal pain in the buttocks, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s a look at four encouraging facts about sciatica pain and how our team can help you put the pain of this frustrating condition behind you.
1. Sciatica is rarely serious
There’s no doubt sciatica can cause a serious disruption to your everyday life. From affecting your ability to sit at work to slowing you down during your day-to-day errands, sciatica is a real pain in the behind. But the good news is that this condition is rarely a serious medical threat.
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. Your spinal discs cushion the space between each vertebra in your spine. They have a soft, gel-like center and rubbery exterior.
As you get older or after an injury, these discs can break down. This degeneration makes them more likely to tear, rupture, or bulge out of place. This is called a herniated disc. It can narrow the spinal canal and put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The good news is that your body can heal a herniated disc on its own. It typically takes about six weeks. Once the herniated disc is better, your sciatica symptoms also improve. Schedule an appointment to learn how Dr. Huffman and Dr. Ghazal can help you recover faster and with less pain.
2. Moving can help you heal
Even though sciatica symptoms can make you feel like lying still, sitting too much can actually make sciatica worse. This is good news, however, because it means that by gently exercising your body, you can improve your sciatic neuritis.
The team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists can give you customized exercise recommendations. But in general, low-impact exercises like swimming and walking help promote blood flow and encourage healing.
3. You probably don’t need medication
It might be tempting to reach for over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications or ask for prescription pain drugs to help you manage sciatica pain. But research shows drugs and medications aren’t usually the answer to sciatica.
Instead, other treatments, like physical therapy, hot and cold therapy, massage, and modalities that address the underlying compression work better at easing sciatica pain. And these therapies don’t come with the unpleasant side effects many drugs and medications do.
4. Sciatica typically responds well to treatment
You’ll be happy to learn that most people who have sciatica get better. This is because the condition responds well to treatment. Having an accurate diagnosis is key.
This is because different conditions can trigger sciatica. And there are other conditions that mimic sciatica, like piriformis syndrome. You may require a different treatment approach based on the cause of your pain.
At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, we have the expertise needed to accurately diagnose your condition and address any underlying issues that are triggering your pain.
How we help you manage sciatica pain
Your Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists provider designs a personalized treatment plan for your needs. While we customize each patient’s plan for their sciatica, your plan may include one or more of the following treatments:
- Strength training in the lower back
- Massage therapy
- Heat and cold therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy
- Selective nerve root block
- Transforaminal epidural steroid injection
- Interlaminar epidural steroid injection
- Caudal epidural steroid injection
To learn more about how we help you manage sciatica pain, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia.