Kevin M. Moran, MD


Aug 03, 2023
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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, running from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg. When this nerve becomes irritated or compressed, it can lead to the sensation of pain, tingling, or numbness in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or slipped disc in the spine, which puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Other potential causes include spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome (irritation of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks), or even a bone spur on the spine.

Symptoms of sciatica can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain that makes it difficult to walk or stand. The pain may worsen when sitting, sneezing, or coughing. Additionally, weakness or difficulty controlling the leg muscles might be experienced in some cases.

Treatment for sciatica usually involves conservative measures like rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, heat or cold therapy, and exercises to improve flexibility and strength. Physical therapy may also be recommended to alleviate symptoms. In more severe or persistent cases, doctors may consider corticosteroid injections or surgical intervention to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve. However, surgery is usually considered a last resort when other treatments have not been effective.

If you suspect you have sciatica or are experiencing persistent back or leg pain, make an appointment with Dr. Kevin Moran, a board certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in spine surgery to determine the cause and appropriate treatment options.