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“Do I Have Sciatica?” Answers from Rolling Hills Medical

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s been causing that lower back pain you’ve been feeling recently. We hear our patients ask, "Do I have Sciatica?". While back pain alone could be triggered by any number of causes, if your back pain is coupled with pain or tingling in one of your legs, you could be experiencing symptoms of sciatica. Find out if your symptoms are associated with sciatica and visit our orthopedic specialists at Rolling Hills Medical in Torrance, for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Do you suffer from pain in the buttocks that goes down the leg?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, consisting of different nerve roots that bundle at the lower spine, pass through the buttocks, down each leg, and to the feet. Sciatica occurs when one of these nerve roots is compressed, causing pain or tingling along any point in the nerve.

Are you experiencing pain on one side of the body? Usually, sciatica affects only one side of the body.

Each spinal nerve has two roots, one for each side of the body. Typically, compression occurs on only one nerve root. In rare cases, bilateral sciatica can occur from compression that affects nerve roots on both sides of the spine.

Do you have numbness and/or tingling/prickling sensations in one leg?

The sciatic nerve is responsible for carrying sensory and motor signals through the leg. Mild numbness or a pins-and-needles prickling sensation is often a tell-tale sign of sciatica. Impingement of the sciatic nerve causes irregular nerve sensations like tingling, prickling, or burning that may worsen over time.

Do you have low back pain?

Lower back pain is often the first symptom of sciatica. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower spine, so pain typically begins here then radiates into the leg and often intensifies.

Does pain radiate to feet and toes?

Depending on which nerve root is experiencing impingement, pain may start in the lower back, extend through the leg, and be felt all the way through the foot and toes.

Do you have leg muscle weakness?

Sciatic nerve compression could result in leg weakness due to sensory loss or paralysis of the leg muscles. Leg muscle weakness can be felt anywhere along the leg, though it is often felt in the knees and calves. Pain and weakness in the leg and foot may affect gait, balance, or coordination. It’s important to seek sciatica treatment early to prevent progressive muscle weakening.

Are you having issues with bowel or bladder control?

Loss of bowel or bladder control requires immediate medical attention. These symptoms may be indicative of permanent nerve damage.

What should you do if you think you have sciatica?

If you think your pain symptoms could be associated with sciatica, it’s important to first get a proper diagnosis. Our spine specialists at Rolling Hills Medical have years of expertise and experience in recognizing and accurately diagnosing sciatica symptoms. While herniated discs or trauma are the leading causes of sciatica, we can determine if your pain is caused by another underlying condition, like degenerative disc disease or a narrowing of the spinal column. During your exam, your physician will assess your symptoms, medical history, and spinal alignment. We’ll then perform X-Rays that help to confirm whether or not you are experiencing sciatica symptoms or are suffering from an unrelated condition with similar symptoms.

How can Sciatica be Treated?

It’s important to know that self-medicating with over-the-counter pain-killers only provides temporary relief. Proper treatment is needed to address the cause of sciatica at its source. After a confirmed diagnosis, our team of integrated team of orthopedic specialists will put together a customized treatment plan. Treatment for sciatica may involve a multi-faceted approach, including:

Therapist helping a patient with their leg pain
  • Chiropractic Adjustments – gentle, manual adjustments can repair subluxations in the spine that are causing nerve impingement
  • Corrective Exercises and Stretches – low-impact exercise and stretching can help relieve tension in the leg muscles and strengthen core muscles that support spinal alignment
  • Physiotherapy – techniques like spinal traction relieve soft-tissue pressure and promote increased blood flow to injured areas of the spine
  • Epidural Steroid Injections - the corticosteroids act as an inflammatory agent that helps reduce swelling and related pain symptoms .
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) - minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove part or all of a herniated disc that is causing sciatica

Is Your Leg Pain a Symptom of Sciatica? Find out by Contacting Rolling Hills Medical in Torrance

While there are common tell-tale symptoms of sciatica, it’s important to confirm diagnosis with a medical professional. Visit our pain management specialists today if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above. Schedule an appointment at Rolling Hills Medical in Torrance.

Dr. Neil Ghodadra
Dr. Neil Ghodadra’s orthopedic practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip. His unique background includes extensive training and expertise in cartilage restoration of the knee and joint preserving osteotomy, as well as treatment of complex shoulder conditions, ranging from shoulder instability and rotator cuff repair surgery to shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Ghodadra is fellowship trained in Shoulder and Sports Medicine Surgery and has a particular interest in taking care of athletes.

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