Lumbar radiculopathy, or sciatica, is a kind of radiculopathy that causes severe pain in the back, hip, and outer side of the leg.
It’s typically caused by the compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back which causes acute or chronic pain. Most cases of sciatica can be resolved with nonsurgical treatments and may resolve themselves by changing your lifestyle habits.
- Spinal adjustments from a chiropractor
- Physical therapy
- Medications to reduce swelling and pain
- Heat or cold therapy
- Spinal injections or nerve blocks
Some forms of radiculopathy can be prevented by living an active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining correct posture and form in your daily activities and workouts.
Typical symptoms include:
- Lower back pain that travels to the buttocks and down the back of your thigh to your calf
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg
- Worsening pain upon standing or sitting
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your leg, foot, and toes
Before your appointment, you should document when and where you have pain, its severity and duration, and any recent trauma to your lower back.
Your doctor will ask about these as well as what medication, vitamins, or supplements you take, your medical history, and your lifestyle habits. These can help them rule out other medical conditions and injuries. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination to investigate any mobility limitations of the spine, balance problems, loss of reflexes, muscle weakness, or sensory loss. Your doctor may order imaging tests such as:
- CT myelogram
- Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study
- Bone spurs
- Bulging or herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Nerve root injuries
- Pinched nerve
- Scar tissue from previous spinal injuries
- Sedentary lifestyle
What Happens If I Leave My Sciatica Symptoms Untreated?
Sciatica symptoms may first start off as mild lower back pain. However, if your sciatic nerve is damaged, this pain can progress into more serious damage and discomfort to your body. If left untreated, patients may begin to experience numbness, tingling, or weakness in the knees or legs - affecting their ability to walk. Without the proper care, pain from sciatica may become permanent and develop into a chronic condition.
What Triggers Sciatica?
Despite sciatica being a painful condition related to the nerves and bones, there are still a few things people suffering from sciatica may be doing to worsen their symptoms. These include:
- Sitting consistently for too long
- Constantly being in stressful situations
- Struggling with being overweight
- Poor posture
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Not engaging in physical exercise
How Often Will I Need Sciatica Treatment?
The frequency of sciatica treatment varies from person to person because we understand that every patient has a different medical history, body, and goals. However, in general, most patients suffering from sciatica symptoms see improvement within four to six weeks, with treatment once a week or every two weeks. If your symptoms are more severe, you may need several months of frequent treatment to feel improvement.
How Do I Know Which Treatment Option Is Right for Me?
At The Pain Experts of Arizona, our dedicated team of board-certified doctors with decades of experience in pain management spend time during each client consultation considering their symptoms, needs, and goals. From there, they determine whether chiropractic adjustments, medication, spinal injections, or surgery can be beneficial for you. Depending on your commitment to recovery and how severe your sciatica symptoms are, you begin to progress from needing spinal injections to only needing spinal adjustments as you begin your treatment and improve over time.
Schedule a Consultation
Are you ready to be pain-free? Allow the team at The Pain Experts of Arizona to help. Proudly serving patients in Mesa and Gilbert, AZ, our expert doctors are dedicated to helping patients find relief from a lifetime of chronic pain. Click here to schedule your first consultation with us, or call 480-550-9393 for more information.