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Your Questions about Sciatica are Answered by a Specialist

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Sciatica is a common pain affecting the lower back, hips, and legs. In this sciatica FAQ section, you will find answers to commonly asked questions about the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention of sciatica. With this knowledge, you can work together with your doctor to determine the best course of action for relieving your pain and improving your quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

The symptoms of sciatica vary depending on where the affected nerve is located and how it is being compressed. Generally, however, sciatica symptoms include pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve – from the lower back down through the buttock and into one or both legs. In some cases, this pain may be accompanied by tingling, numbness or weakness in the leg or foot. Some people also experience a sharp burning sensation in their lower back, which can worsen with certain movements. 

In addition to these common symptoms, more severe cases of sciatica may result in loss of bladder or bowel control if left untreated for a prolonged period.

What Triggers Sciatica?

Sciatica can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

  • Herniated disc: When the soft inner material of a spinal disc pushes through a tear in the outer layer and presses on the sciatic nerve.
  • Degenerative disc disease: This occurs when the discs between the vertebrae break down, causing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal tumors: A tumor located near the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica by compressing the nerve.
  • Spinal infections: An infection in the spinal cord can lead to inflammation and swelling, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Piriformis syndrome: This is a condition where the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock, compresses the sciatic nerve.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This occurs when one vertebral bone slips forward on another, compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Pregnancy: The growing uterus can pressure the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica.

Physical activities that involve repetitive bending, twisting, or heavy lifting can also trigger sciatica.

Can you get Sciatica after a Car Accident?

Yes, you can get sciatica after a car accident. Whiplash, a common injury from car accidents, can cause herniated discs that can press on the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica. Additionally, blunt force trauma from a car accident can cause damage to the spinal column or other tissues that can trigger sciatica. If you are experiencing lower back or leg pain after a car accident, it’s important to see a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

How Long Does Sciatica Last?

Sciatica can last for an indefinite amount of time, depending on the severity and underlying cause. Some cases of sciatica may resolve quickly within a few days or weeks with rest, medication, physical therapy, ice/heat treatments, and exercise. In other cases, sciatica pain may persist for several months or longer if the underlying condition is not addressed.

If your sciatica symptoms don’t improve or worsen after trying conservative treatment options, it is important to contact your doctor immediately to determine the next steps. Your doctor may recommend further testing or additional treatments to help reduce your pain and discomfort.

It’s important to note that even if you have been suffering from sciatica for a long period of time, it is still possible to improve symptoms with appropriate treatment. It’s important to take the time to seek medical help and make sure you have an accurate diagnosis to create a successful treatment plan.

How to Relieve Sciatica Pain?

Ways to relieve sciatica pain include:

  • Stretching and exercise
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain medications (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
  • Topical creams/ointments
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • In severe cases, epidural steroid injections or surgery may be recommended.

It’s important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes Sciatica Buttock Pain?

Sciatica buttock pain is usually caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Common causes include:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal infections
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Physical activities (such as prolonged sitting or heavy lifting)

How to Sleep with Sciatica?

One of the most difficult aspects of living with sciatica is finding ways to get a good night’s sleep. As with other physical conditions, proper rest and relaxation are essential for proper healing as well as general well-being. Here are some tips on how to sleep with sciatica:

  • Sleep on your back or side and use a pillow for support. Lying flat on your back can put pressure on the nerves in the lower spine, so try propping yourself up slightly by placing a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side. This can help take the weight off the affected area and reduce pain from aggravated muscles.
  • Elevate your legs while sleeping. Keeping your legs elevated above heart level can help reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. You can do this by placing a pillow under your feet and legs while lying down.
  • Consider specialized sleeping positions and aids. For example, sleeping with an adjustable bed frame can allow you to find just the right angle that relieves sciatic nerve pain so you can sleep better at night.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications to ease sciatica pain and improve sleep quality. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly used for treating moderate to severe sciatica pain. Still, they may cause side effects, so talk to your doctor before taking them regularly. Your doctor may also recommend muscle relaxants or other medications to help reduce sciatica pain and improve sleep quality.
  • Try taking warm baths or using heating pads before bed. Soaking in a hot bath with Epsom salt may provide some relief from the pain, as well as relax your muscles for better sleep. Alternatively, a heating pad on the affected area can temporarily relieve you until you’re ready to sleep.
  • Exercise regularly throughout the day and practice gentle stretching before bedtime. Regular exercise helps manage sciatica and improves overall health and well-being. Gentle stretching exercises like yoga can be especially beneficial when it comes to relieving sciatic nerve pain. Doing them right before bed can also help relax tense muscles and reduce pain so you can get a better night’s sleep.
  • Consider cognitive and behavioral therapies to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are known to be significant contributors to sciatica, so it’s important to find ways to manage them in order to get a better night’s sleep. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment for reducing stress and improving mental health. It may be helpful for people with chronic sciatica pain who have difficulty sleeping at night.

Sleeping with sciatica can be difficult, but these tips can help make it easier. Finding the right balance of rest and relaxation is essential for managing your condition and overall health and well-being. Talk to your doctor if you’re having difficulty sleeping with sciatica or if pain interferes with your sleep on a regular basis.

How to Find an Experienced Sciatica Doctor Near You

Sciatica Doctor Near Me

Here are some steps you can follow to find a qualified sciatica doctor near you:

  • Ask for recommendations: Ask friends, family, and coworkers if they have seen a doctor for sciatica and if they would recommend them.
  • Check with insurance: Contact your insurance company to find out if they have a list of in-network providers specializing in sciatica.
  • Search online: Look for sciatica specialists near you on reputable directory websites. You can also search for online reviews and ratings from other patients to help you find the best doctor for your needs.
  • Consider subspecialties: Some doctors may specialize in specific sciatica areas such as neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, or pain management. Consider a doctor who specializes in the type of sciatica you have.
  • Schedule a consultation: Once you have found a few doctors, schedule a consultation to meet with them and discuss your symptoms and treatment options and determine if they are the right fit for you.

It’s essential to choose a doctor who has experience in diagnosing and treating sciatica, and who you feel comfortable communicating with about your symptoms and treatment options.

Get Help For Sciatica Now

If you are looking for a qualified sciatica specialist near you, call Accident Help Zone at (888) 412-8488.

Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including no-fault, PIP, and workers’ compensation. Same-Day Appointments may be available.