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11/08/2020

Symptoms and Causes of Sciatica


Is Your Back Pain Ankylosing Spondylitis?

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from your lower back down the back of each leg.

Sciatica Symptoms

Common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Lower back pain nyc
  • Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Hip pain
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or a hard time moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear
  • A shooting pain that makes it hard to stand up

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of your thigh and down through your leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.

For some people, the pain from sciatica nyccan be severe and disabling. For others, the sciatica nycpain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

Seek medical attention right away if you have:

  • Fever and back pain nyc
  • Swelling or redness in your back or spine
  • Pain that moves down your legs
  • Numbness or weakness in the upper thighs, legs, pelvis, or bottom
  • Burning when you pee or blood in your pee
  • Serious pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (leaking or not being able to make it to the toilet in time)

Sciatica Causes and Risk Factors

Sciatica results from irritation of the root(s) of your lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.

Additional common causes of sciatica nycinclude:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back)
  • Degenerative disk disease (breakdown of disks, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
  • Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks

Other things that may make you more likely to have sciatica nycinclude:

  • Aging (which can cause changes in the spine, like bone spurs or herniated disk nycs)
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Wearing high heels
  • Sleeping on a mattress that is too hard or too soft
  • Smoking
  • Your job, especially if it involves driving for long periods of time, twisting your back, or carrying heavy things

Continued

Sciatica Diagnosis

If your doctor thinks you have sciatica, you’ll get a physical exam so they can check your reflexes and see how strong your muscles are. They might have you do certain activities, like walking on your heels or toes, to see what’s causing your pain.

If your pain is severe, the doctor might order imaging tests to check for bone spurs and herniated disk nycs. You could get tests like:

  • X-ray, which makes pictures of the inside of your body, to check for bone spurs
  • CT scan, which combines a series of X-rays to get a better look at your spinal cord and spinal nerves
  • MRI, which uses radio waves and magnets to create pictures of your insides to get a detailed look at your back and spine
  • Electromyography (EMG), which measures how fast nerve signals travel through your body, to check for things like a herniated disk nyc

Sciatica Treatment

Most people with sciatica nycfeel better after self-care activities or at-home remedies like:

But if your pain isn’t getting better, your doctor might suggest other options.

Medication

Your doctor might recommend a few different types of medication, including:

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can show you how to do exercises that will improve your posture and make you more flexible. They’ll also make the muscles that support your back stronger.

Steroid injections

Your doctor might recommend you get steroid injections, like a cortisone shot. They’ll give you a shot that has medicine to help with inflammation around the nerve, which can help reduce your pain. The effects usually last a few months, but they’ll wear off over time.

Surgery

If you have extreme pain that doesn’t get better, weakness, or a loss of bladder or bowel control, your doctor might recommend surgery. They’ll take out the bone spur or herniated disk nyc that’s pressing on your nerves and causing your pain.

Sources

SOURCES: 

Cleveland Clinic.

Penn Medicine: “Sciatica.”

Mayo Clinic: “CT scan,” “Electromyography (EMG),” ”MRI,” “Sciatica,” “X-ray.”

The American Journal of Medicine: “The Effect of Smoking on the Risk of Sciatica: A

Meta-analysis.”

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Low Back Strain

Back Pain Guide

  1. Overview & Facts
  2. Symptoms & Complications
  3. Diagnosis & Tests
  4. Treatments & Care
  5. Living & Managing

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11/08/2020

Back Pain: Symptoms & Complications

Back pain symptoms can range in intensity from mild to severe. Learn the signs to watch for.

  1. Upper, Middle, and Low Back Pain Symptoms Get the facts on the aches and pains that signal back problems.
  2. Sciatica Symptoms Sciatica can cause pain in the lower back and the legs. Learn more.
  3. Low Back Strain One of the main causes of back pain nyc, whether acute or chronic, is low back strain.
  4. Nighttime Back Pain Nighttime back pain nyc is a special type of lower back pain nyc that could indicate a serious problem with your spine.
  5. Should You See a Doctor? Most back pain nyc goes away on its own, but there are times when toughing it out at home isn’t a good idea.
  6. Cauda Equina Syndrome This syndrome may require emergency surgery to avoid permanent damage to bowel and bladder control or even paralysis.

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11/07/2020

Leg pain

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11/07/2020

Herniated disk

Diagnosis

During the physical exam, your doctor will check your back for tenderness. You might be asked to lie flat and move your legs into various positions to help determine the cause of your pain.

Your doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check your:

  • Reflexes
  • Muscle strength
  • Walking ability
  • Ability to feel light touches, pinpricks or vibration

In most cases of herniated disk nyc, a physical exam and a medical history are all that’s needed for a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects another condition or needs to see which nerves are affected, he or she may order one or more of the following tests.

Imaging tests

  • X-rays. Plain X-rays don’t detect herniated disk nycs, but they can rule out other causes of back pain nyc, such as an infection, tumor, spinal alignment issues or a broken bone.
  • CT scan. A CT scanner takes a series of X-rays from different directions and then combines them to create cross-sectional images of your spinal column and the structures around it.
  • MRI. Radio waves and a strong magnetic field are used to create images of your body’s internal structures. This test can be used to confirm the location of the herniated disk nyc and to see which nerves are affected.
  • Myelogram. A dye is injected into the spinal fluid before X-rays are taken. This test can show pressure on your spinal cord or nerves due to multiple herniated disk nycs or other conditions.

Nerve tests

Electromyograms and nerve conduction studies measure how well electrical impulses are moving along nerve tissue. This can help pinpoint the location of nerve damage.

  • Nerve conduction study. This test measures electrical nerve impulses and functioning in your muscles and nerves through electrodes placed on your skin. The study measures the electrical impulses in your nerve signals when a small current passes through the nerve.
  • Electromyography (EMG). During an EMG, your doctor inserts a needle electrode through your skin into various muscles. The test evaluates the electrical activity of your muscles when they contract and when they’re at rest.

More Information

Treatment

Conservative treatment — mainly modifying activities to avoid movement that causes pain and taking pain medication — relieves symptoms in most people within a few days or weeks.

Medications

  • Over-the-counter pain medications. If your pain is mild to moderate, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • Cortisone injections. If your pain doesn’t improve with oral medications, your doctor might recommend a corticosteroid that can be injected into the area around the spinal nerves. Spinal imaging can help guide the needle.
  • Muscle relaxers. You might be prescribed these if you have muscle spasms. Sedation and dizziness are common side effects.
  • Opioids. Because of the side effects of opioids and the potential for addiction, many doctors hesitate to prescribe them for disk herniation. If other medication doesn’t relieve your pain, your doctor might consider short-term use of opioids, such as codeine or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination (Percocet, Roxicet). Sedation, nausea, confusion and constipation are possible side effects from these drugs.

Therapy

Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to help with your pain. Physical therapists can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize the pain of a herniated disk nyc.

Surgery

Diskectomy

Removal of herniated portion of spinal disk

Diskectomy

Diskectomy is the surgical removal of the damaged portion of a herniated disk nyc in your spine. A herniated disk nyc occurs when some of the softer material inside the disk pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior. This can irritate or compress nearby nerves and cause pain, numbness or weakness.

Few people with herniated disk nycs eventually need surgery. Your doctor might suggest surgery if conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms after six weeks, especially if you continue to have:

  • Poorly controlled pain
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

In nearly all cases, surgeons can remove just the protruding portion of the disk. Rarely, the entire disk must be removed. In these cases, the vertebrae may need to be fused with a bone graft.

To allow the process of bone fusion, which takes months, metal hardware is placed in the spine to provide spinal stability. Rarely, your surgeon might suggest the implantation of an artificial disk.

More Information

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Besides taking the pain medications your doctor recommends, try:

  • Applying heat or cold. Initially, cold packs can be used to relieve pain and inflammation. After a few days, you might switch to gentle heat to give relief and comfort.
  • Avoiding too much bed rest. Staying in bed can lead to stiff joints and weak muscles — which can complicate your recovery. Instead, rest in a position of comfort for 30 minutes, and then go for a short walk or do some work. Try to avoid activities that worsen your pain.
  • Resuming activity slowly. Let your pain guide you in resuming your activities. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled, especially bending forward and lifting.

Alternative medicine

Some alternative and complementary medicine treatments might help ease chronic back pain nyc. Examples include:

  • Chiropractic. Spinal manipulation has been found to be moderately effective for low back pain nyc that has lasted for at least a month. Rarely, chiropractic treatment of the neck can cause certain types of strokes.
  • Acupuncture. Although results are usually modest, acupuncture appears to ease chronic back and neck pain.
  • Massage. This hands-on therapy can provide short-term relief to people dealing with chronic low back pain nyc.

Preparing for your appointment

You’re likely to start by seeing your family doctor. You might be referred to a doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopedic surgery, neurology, or neurosurgery.

What you can do

Before your appointment, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • When did your symptoms start?
  • Were you lifting, pushing or pulling anything at the time you first felt symptoms? Were you twisting your back?
  • Has the pain kept you from participating in activities?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • What medications or supplements do you take?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor might ask other questions, including:

  • Does your pain travel into your arms or legs?
  • Do you feel weakness or numbness in your arms or legs?
  • Have you noticed changes in your bowel or bladder habits?
  • Does coughing or sneezing worsen your leg pain?
  • Is the pain interfering with sleep or work?
  • Does your work involve heavy lifting?
  • Do you smoke or otherwise use tobacco products?
  • How has your weight changed recently?

Sept. 26, 2019

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11/07/2020

Sciatica

Overview

Sciatic nerve

Illustration showing sciatic nerve

Sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerves branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica nycaffects only one side of your body.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk nyc, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica nycthat’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.

Symptoms

Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.

The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.

Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.

When to see a doctor

Mild sciatica nycusually goes away over time. Call your doctor if self-care measures fail to ease your symptoms or if your pain lasts longer than a week, is severe or becomes progressively worse. Get immediate medical care if:

  • You have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
  • The pain follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
  • You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder

Causes

Herniated disk

Herniated spinal disk

Herniated disk

The rubbery disks that lie between the vertebrae in your spine consist of a soft center (nucleus) surrounded by a tougher exterior (annulus). A herniated disk nyc occurs when a portion of the nucleus pushes through a crack in the annulus. Symptoms may occur if the herniation compresses a nerve.

Bone spurs on spine

Bone spurs and narrowed disks in the spine

Bone spurs on spine

As your spine ages, it’s more likely to experience bone spurs or herniated disk nycs. These problems can reduce the amount of space available for your spinal cord and the nerves that branch off it.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk nyc in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.

Risk factors

Risk factors for sciatica nycinclude:

  • Age. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disk nycs and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
  • Obesity. By increasing the stress on your spine, excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
  • Occupation. A job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica, but there’s no conclusive evidence of this link.
  • Prolonged sitting. People who sit for prolonged periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica nycthan active people are.
  • Diabetes. This condition, which affects the way your body uses blood sugar, increases your risk of nerve damage.

Complications

Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without treatment, sciatica nyccan potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

  • Loss of feeling in the affected leg
  • Weakness in the affected leg
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function

Prevention

It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. The following can play a key role in protecting your back:

  • Exercise regularly. To keep your back strong, pay special attention to your core muscles — the muscles in your abdomen and lower back that are essential for proper posture and alignment. Ask your doctor to recommend specific activities.
  • Maintain proper posture when you sit. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
  • Use good body mechanics. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When you lift something heavy, let your lower extremities do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.

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