Up to 40% of Americans experience sciatica at some point in their lives, with the risk rising as they get older. Your sciatica episode may be different from others because there’s not a singular cause behind all cases, and sometimes you may have more than one factor contributing to your sciatica symptoms.
While there’s a good chance your symptoms will resolve themselves, seeing a sciatica expert like the team at Westside Pain Specialists is the quickest way to find relief. Dr. James Nassiri can assess your symptoms and assure that you’re in comfort until the causes of sciatica are resolved.
Signs of sciatica
Since sciatica is a collection of symptoms associated with the sciatic nerve, you may experience pain or other sensations anywhere along the route of the nerve. Complicating this is that the sciatic nerve joins together several root nerves that branch off from the spinal column in different places in the lumbar spine and sacrum.
Radiating pain is perhaps the most common symptom of sciatica. Though caused by irritation of one or more root nerves at the spine, pain is often felt farther down the nerve from the irritation, in the buttocks or backs of the thighs, though usually on one side during a given episode.
It’s possible to have sciatica symptoms on both sides simultaneously, but it’s not common.
You may also experience non-pain symptoms. Numbness and tingling are common in sciatica, and it’s possible to have pain in one spot and another sensation farther along the nerve’s path. Since nerves also control muscle functions, muscle weakness can also occur.
Treatment for your sciatica
Since sciatica usually clears on its own in a matter of weeks, treatment virtually always starts with conservative interventions. In many cases, sciatica patients start treating themselves at home with therapies like:
- Cold packs: 20 minutes at a time, for the first few days after pain begins
- Heat: After the first few days, add hot packs or a heating pad, alone or alternated with cold therapy
- Over-the-counter pain medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are often enough to reduce your pain
- Mild exercise: Though you may feel the urge to rest, light stretching and walking are usually better at supporting your body’s healing efforts
If your home efforts aren’t successful, Dr. Nassiri may prescribe physical therapy or stronger medications, and then move on to more aggressive treatments until an effective solution is found. Surgery is reserved for only the most extreme cases, when no other therapy works.
Talk to Dr. Nassiri about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow cell therapy in addition to your existing treatments. These regenerative medicine techniques often help to reduce pain and speed natural healing.
Call Westside Pain Specialists at their nearest office in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga when sciatica pain starts to interfere with your daily life. There’s no need to simply cope with your sciatica symptoms, so book an appointment today.