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What You Need to Know about Sciatic Nerve Pain in Baltimore

What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?

In your spine, there are two nerve roots that exit the lumbar spine, and three that exit the sacral section of your spine.  When bundled together, these five nerves create what is called the sciatic nerve.

These nerves then branch out again into each leg, giving your legs the motor and sensory functions they need to move and feel.

Unfortunately, sometimes these nerves, whether bundled together or branched out, become irritated and can cause you extreme pain.  This pain is called sciatic nerve pain.

Sciatic nerve pain is something that many people deal with on a regular basis.  In fact, this debilitating pain will affect as many as 40% of people at some point during their lifetime.

Most often caused by an array of lower back issues, sciatic nerve pain develops when the sciatic nerve (that runs the length of your lower back, down your thigh, and through your leg) is compressed.  This pressure then causes pain that affects the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Understanding the root causes of sciatic nerve pain, as well as how to get pain relief for sciatica, will help ensure you enjoy your life as painless as possible.

So, if you or someone you know in Baltimore suffers from the excruciating pain of an irritated sciatic nerve, keep reading to become educated about this relatively common body pain, and find out how best to get rid of it with the help of your sciatic nerve specialist.

What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?

As mentioned above, a compressed sciatic nerve causes sciatic nerve pain.  However, what compresses your sciatic nerve is going to vary.

Top 6 Causes of Sciatica Pain

1. Herniated Disc

This is the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain and involves a disc in your vertebrae that is torn or cracked.  The inner material of the disc then begins to bulge outward, pinching the sciatic nerve, inflaming and irritating it, and causing you pain.

2. Lumbar Degenerative Disease

Mostly due to wear and tear, lumbar degenerative disease is a condition when the joints of the lumbar spine, the facet joints, become degenerative and have arthritis built up in them. As a result, the space where the nerves exit the vertebral column, also called the neural foramana, ends up becoming smaller and smaller and exerting a pressure on the nerves, which in turn irritates them.

3. Spondylolisthesis

If you have spondylolisthesis, you will most likely have lower back and leg pain.  With this condition, one vertebrae slips forward or backward over the vertebrae below it.  This positioning of the vertebrae has a tendency to compress your sciatic nerve and irritate it, resulting in pain that radiates throughout your lower back and down your leg.

4. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the bone channel holding your spinal cord and nerves, also known as the central canal, becomes narrowed. It irritates and inflames the spinal cord, causing sciatic nerve pain down your leg. You may have been born with a narrowed central canal; however, the most likely cause is aging and natural degeneration of the spinal column.

5. Osteophytes

Despite what you may think you know about osteophytes, or “bone spurs”, the truth is, this condition involves smooth overgrowths of bone that develop over time.  They are not, in fact, the spiky bones that people envision when they hear the word term “bone spur.”  With this overgrowth, nerves are pinched (including the sciatic nerve) and movement within the spine in significantly restricted.

6. Arthritis

Arthritis of the spine can be used to describe pain, swelling, and even joint stiffness.  In addition, the term is used to explain the wearing down of cartilage between your spinal joints, in which the bones begin to rub against one another and become inflamed.  Sciatica pain is often a symptom of spinal arthritis.

The type of sciatic pain relief you receive will largely depend on the reason behind your sciatica.

That’s why getting in touch with an experienced Baltimore sciatic pain relief center near you, where proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment take place, is important if you want the best pain relief possible.

Symptoms of Sciatica Pain

Regardless of the reason why you are suffering from sciatica pain, you will experience some, or all, of the following symptoms:

  1. Pain in one or both sides of the buttock or leg

  2. Pain that travels from your thigh down to your foot

  3. Aching on one or both sides that tends to increase when you sneeze,12 cough, or strain at stool

  4. A sharp or searing pain, rather than a dull pain

  5. Feelings of “pins and needles”, numbness, prickling, or weakness down one leg

  6. Pain in the foot or toes, depending on the location of the sciatic pain

  7. Lower back pain

For some, sciatic pain is very severe and seemingly impossible to relieve.  For others, it is a nuisance, but not debilitating.  However, anyone suffering from sciatic nerve pain is going to want some relief, especially if the pain worsens with time.

Sciatic Pain Based on the Nerve Root

Many sciatica pain symptoms can be traced to where in the lower back the nerve is being irritated or compressed.  This is extremely helpful in determining the right sciatica pain relief treatment.

Take a look at the different areas that will irritate your sciatic nerve and cause you pain:

  1. L4 Nerve Root. If your L4 nerve is the root of your sciatic pain, you will typically feel most of the pain in the thigh.  You may notice a decreased knee-jerk effect or weakness when straightening your leg.  You may also have trouble moving your toes, as well as flexing your foot at the ankle.

  2. L5 Nerve Root. If your L5 nerve is causing your sciatica, you most likely feel numbness in the top of your foot, as well as pain in the webbing between your toes.  You may also difficulty lifting your toes upwards towards your shin. In addition, lower back pain probably accompanies your sciatic pain.

  3. S1 Nerve Root. If this is where your sciatica originates, you will normally feel pain on the outer part of your foot through your pinky toe.  You may experience trouble walking on your heels or tiptoes.  In addition, you may not be able to move your ankle all the way.

Getting Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

The most helpful sciatic pain relief option, especially for those that have extreme cases, is an epidural steroid injection.

This minimally invasive, yet very effective treatment option is available for all Baltimore patients struggling with sciatic nerve pain.

During an epidural steroid injection for sciatica, your pain management specialist will inject a steroid into the region where you notice the most pain.  This will reduce any inflammation and irritation caused by your compressed sciatic nerve.  As a result, you will gain back any mobility you have lost and the pain will soon start to subside.

Final Thoughts

If you are suffering from sciatica, it is time you contact Baltimore’s best sciatic nerve pain specialists at Complete Pain Care.  With experience assessing, diagnosing, and treating sciatic nerve pain, we can help you regain the quality of life you deserve.

Knowing which treatment options are available is an important step when it comes to treating your sciatic pain.  With Complete Pain Care, you can trust that whichever method will give you the most effective pain relief you will receive, so that you can recover as quickly as possible.

Schedule an appointment today with one of our sciatic nerve pain specialists to see which treatment method is best for you, so that you can live a pain free and happy life.

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