Pain down your legs or in your lower back may indicate a condition called sciatica. If you're experiencing these symptoms, your life may be turned upside down.
Even the simplest tasks may seem impossible without excruciating pain when your symptoms are severe.
Suppose you're suffering from back or leg pain; Dr. Nabil Ebraheim and the team at the University of Toledo Physicians, LLC can help. Dr. Ebraheim is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who offers several cutting-edge treatments for sciatic nerve pain, including minimally invasive spine surgery.
You have a large nerve in your back called your sciatic nerve. It's the longest nerve in your body and originates in your lumbar (low back) spine. It splits in two, each part running down both legs and terminating just below your knees.
A genuine injury to your sciatic nerve isn't common — but any pain related to nerve compression in your spine is considered sciatica. Common causes of nerve injury or compression include:
Suppose you have symptoms like lower back pain, numbness or tingling in your legs, or pain that’s worse with movement. These conditions may be related to your back or leg pain when they pinch your sciatic nerve. In that case, our team should evaluate you for sciatica.
Sciatic pain can negatively impact your daily life. If you're suffering from discomfort, there are some ways you can deal with it at home. Home care measures that Dr. Ebraheim recommends include:
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve pain related to nerve compression in your spine. These medications may significantly reduce swelling and inflammation in your spine and legs.
Dr. Ebraheim recommends gentle, low-impact exercise when your sciatica flares up. Rest is okay for a day, but too much sitting worsens your pain.
You must move around a little; simply going for a walk or riding an exercise bike can significantly improve your symptoms.
Stretching is one of the best things you can do with back pain. Various muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your back tighten up with sciatica. When you gently stretch, you're helping to loosen these structures, which helps eliminate your pain.
You should use ice packs on your low back for the first few days after a sciatic flare-up. Ice helps to decrease the swelling and pain associated with sciatica. Use it for about 20 minutes, and remember not to put the ice directly on your skin.
You can use heat after the first few days to relax the muscles in your back. Heat also reduces painful symptoms. You can also switch between the two to find the best relief for your discomfort.
When your pain hasn't been relieved by home treatments for sciatica, Dr. Ebraheim and the team provide you with alternative options. If sciatic pain affects your everyday activities, it's time to get expert care from our team.
Dr. Ebraheim suggests treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and the cause of your sciatic pain. A few of the treatments he recommends for long-lasting pain relief include:
Our physical therapy team helps you find exercises that reduce the pressure on your spinal nerves. They also use techniques like stretching and massage to reduce your pain and help you strengthen your muscles and spine.
Dr. Ebraheim offers spinal injections, either alone or in conjunction with physical therapy. When paired together, you have a better chance at a long-term reduction in your pain.
Steroid injections contain corticosteroids, which are potent anti-inflammatory medications. If your sciatic pain is due to inflammation around your nerves, a corticosteroid injection may help.
When nothing else has relieved your sciatic pain, and it's taking a toll on your life, Dr. Ebraheim suggests surgical intervention. Spine surgery is invasive and requires dedication to your recovery, so Dr. Ebraheim reserves it for severe pain cases.
Dr. Ebraheim offers minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix the problem with minimal tissue damage. He performs surgeries such as a microdiscectomy and laminectomy for sciatic pain.
Don't let your sciatic nerve pain rule your life — call our office at 419-383-3761, or request an appointment online. You can also learn more about sciatica on our YouTube channel.