One of the main causes of back pain Dr. Nikesh Seth treats is sciatica. At Integrated Pain Consultants, there are a number of alternative solutions to pain management. Common sciatica symptoms include pain radiating in the leg. The good news is that most patients can achieve relief from sciatica and it is an acute issue. However, if treated by a GP, up to 30 percent of patients continue to have sciatica pain for over a year.
Sciatica is diagnosed with a physical exam and taking a history of the patient. Imaging is rarely ordered and only for those who may have a disc injury. In the past, rest was considered the primary alternative therapy for sciatica, but that’s no longer the case. Now, there are a number of safe, effective options for pain relief, including injections. Prescribing risky, addictive medications is usually not favorable for sciatica pain, which can last for weeks or months. (In rare cases, surgery may be recommended for those with disc issues.)
In the vast majority of cases (around 90 percent), sciatica is caused by nerve root compression from a herniated disc. However, lumbar stenosis and/or tumors may also be the root cause. This is why a proper diagnosis is so important—management varies greatly based on the cause. Due to the high propensity of herniated discs causing sciatica, it’s very possible for a person to be diagnosed and treated for this cause when in actuality they suffer from a less common cause of sciatica.
Up to ten percent of people with lower back pain have sciatica. Smoking cigarettes and regularly being in vibrating machinery (i.e., construction work) can exacerbate sciatica. Most sufferers are between 45 – 64 years old, and taller people are at a higher risk.
Alternative pain management for sciatica may include spinal cord stimulation and epidural steroid injection. In some cases, medication management may be the best course of action. If you’re suffering from sciatica, call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 and schedule a consultation.