What is the Sciatic nerve?
Humans are able to feel and move the different parts of the body partly through the function of the nerve network that links the brain and spinal cord to the most extreme ends of the limbs. The sciatic nerve is a member of that neural network responsible for bringing sensation, reflex responses, and strength specifically to the legs. Formed by the merging of two lumbar nerves and three sacral spine nerves, the sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in entire body, running the termination of the spinal cord to the pelvic area, and down to the thighs, calves, and toes on both legs.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition where patients experience pain due to sciatic nerve irritation, inflammation, or compression. The pain is characterized by sharp or stabbing discomfort occurring mostly on just one of the legs, accompanied by leg weakness or numbness, walking, standing, or sitting difficulties, and lower back pain. Pain intensity as well as the location of affected areas typically differ among patients, depending on the location of nerve compression or irritation, such as in the sciatic nerve itself, its nerve roots, or its tributaries. Regardless of differing manifestations, sciatica may result in movement difficulties in patients, as well as functional inability, and a decrease in the quality of life.
What causes Sciatica?
Pain is a manifestation of the body’s response to internal injury or dysfunction. Like in most medical conditions, pain occur only as symptom of tissue damage or irritation. Due to the length covered by the sciatic nerve, it is susceptible to compression or inflammation in so many points, such as the junctions and passages through the spine. Some of the common conditions leading to sciatica may include the following:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Lumbar herniated discs
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- Cauda equine syndrome
- Spinal stenosis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Nerve infections
- Muscle strain
What treatments are available for patients with sciatica in Los Angeles?
Depending on the nature and intensity of symptoms, non-invasive or invasive medical procedures may be prescribed by specialists for patients with sciatica. But before any treatment may be administered, patients have to be comprehensively evaluated and diagnosed in order to determine the primary cause of sciatica. The reason for this is that while the pain may be temporarily relieved, some conditions require attention to the nerve itself or the spine, so as to prevent irreparable damage. So if you are experiencing pain due to sciatica, always seek the help of a licensed medical practitioner for proper diagnosis and optimal treatment plans. In some cases, pain management and treatment may require more than one treatment procedure, so patients may be asked to go a treatment plan that involves several modalities, such as pain medication in conjunction with physical therapy. Some of the treatment options for patients with sciatica may include the following:
- Thermal therapy – such as the use of warm or cold packs for pain relief
- Oral medication – including pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, or oral steroids, also for pain reduction
- Steroid injections – involves the use of ant-inflammatory steroid medication delivered directly to the epidural space of the spine in close proximity to the irritated section
- Chiropractic care – form of physical therapy which reduces strain on the sciatic nerve by improving spinal alignment
- Acupuncture – insertion of fine needles in specific spots to stimulate blood flow along the length of the sciatic nerve
- Exercise – use of certain stretches and light work out to strengthen and relax muscles around the sciatic nerve and ease compression
- Surgery – open surgery involving the removal of damaged discs or foreign material causing irritation along the nerve
Where can I find a specialist for Sciatica in Los Angeles?
Is your sciatica depriving you of your life? Dr. Kevin Li, MD, a pain management specialist based in Los Angeles, may just be the doctor you need. Employing the latest developments in medical research, and his extensive experience in treating patients with sciatica, Dr. Li will not only be able to give you a comprehensive diagnosis, but could also provide the best pain management care around. Dr. Li believes in minimally invasive, patient-centered treatment, so you are assured that whatever your circumstances, you get treatment suited specifically to your needs. What’s the wait? Call his L.A. clinic today at (626) 538 – 8950 for an appointment! Don’t let pain stop you. Let Dr. Li help you stop the pain.