Sciatica: A Debilitating Condition and the Benefits of Sciatic Surgery

Up to 40 percent of all people will experience sciatica — sometimes referred to as sciatic nerve pain — at some point in their lives.

Are you struggling with sciatica? Likewise, do you deal with constant pain in the lower back and hips?

It’s easy to feel as though you’re stuck with this condition forever. That’s not necessarily the case, though.

Read on to learn more about sciatica and why you might want to consider sciatica surgery.

Closeup side view of an early 60's senior gentleman having some lower back pain. He's at doctor's office having medical examination by a male doctor. The doctor is touching the sensitive area and trying to determine the cause of pain, sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a type of pain from irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to just below the knee. It is longer than any other nerve in the human body.

People who deal with sciatica often experience severe, shooting pain at various points along the sciatic nerve. They may feel the pain in their lower back, their buttock, or down the back of their leg.

For example, sciatic nerve pain is also characterized by numbness and a tingling sensation in the limbs.

In many cases, sciatica is a symptom of a more serious spinal problem.

Approximately 90 percent of sciatica cases are caused by a herniated disc and nerve root compression. Narrowing of the lumbar spine (known as lumbar stenosis) can cause the symptoms, too, as can tumors.

 

Sciatica Treatment Options

There are many different strategies physicians use to treat sciatica. The following are some of the most popular treatment options:

  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching
  • Regular exercise
  • Short-term bed rest
  • Hot-cold therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and muscle relaxers

These treatments can be very helpful initially. They don’t often provide long-term relief, though.

Interventional pain management techniques, such as epidural injections, muscle injections, and radiofrequency procedures may be more helpful, especially for those dealing with severe pain.

 

Sciatica Surgery

In some cases, surgery is the best option for eliminating sciatic nerve pain.

There are two surgeries commonly used for treating sciatica: discectomies and microdiscectomies.

These surgeries involve the removal of whatever is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, it’s a herniated disc or a portion of the disc. It could also be something smaller like a bone spur.

A microdiscectomy involves the use of a special microscope, which allows the surgeon to get a better view of their area on which they’re operating.

 

When is Surgery Necessary?

The following are situations in which surgery for sciatica makes the most sense:

  • Spinal cord compression is causing bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
  • You’re experiencing spinal stenosis
  • You’re experiencing neurologic dysfunction (e.g., severe weakness in the leg)

You may also be a good candidate for surgery if your symptoms are severe and other treatment options have not been effective.

 

Learn More About Sciatica Surgery Today

As you can see, there are lots of treatment options available for those struggling with sciatica.

Do you want to learn about different pain management techniques or surgical interventions to help relieve your pain? If so, we can help at Moreno Spine.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our treatment options.

Finally, we have offices on both sides of Tampa Bay to help you get seen and start feeling better faster!

Florida Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Anthony P. Moreno received his Bachelor’s and Medical degrees from the University of Florida, where he graduated with honors. After that, he completed his orthopedic residency at Jackson Memorial Medical Center/University of Miami. Dr. Moreno has also completed a Spine Surgery Fellowship at Hahnemann/Penn. As a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Moreno is also a member of the American College of Spine Surgery and speaker. For instance, he has done many presentations around the world on spinal surgical techniques. His knowledge and expertise can help with any of the most complex spinal cases. Read more about Dr. Moreno’s education, certification and credentials here.