Tom Macek, MD
Board Certified Pain Management & Board Certified Anesthesiology located in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sciatica is a common condition that can cause significant pain. Dr. Tom Macek has helped many of the men and women of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, find relief from sciatica through his individualized approach to pain management. If you’re ready to move beyond the discomfort and inconvenience of sciatica, book an appointment to meet with Dr. Macek at your earliest convenience. Use the simple online scheduling tool, or reach the office by phone.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is not a condition in and of itself, but a symptom of an irritated sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, running from your lower back down through your hips and buttocks and into each leg.
When that nerve is pinched or otherwise compressed, you will likely experience pain and other symptoms. Fortunately, sciatica is one of the easier conditions to diagnose.
What causes sciatica?
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc in your lower spine. Each vertebrae is separated from the next by a flat, round, flexible cushion made of connective tissue.
The outer ring is firm, while the inner portion of each disc is softer. When your discs wear down over time, the center of the disc can begin to bulge out, putting pressure on the nerves surrounding your spine, including your sciatic nerve.
Additional causes include bone spurs and spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the space within your spine. Anything that places pressure on your sciatic nerve can cause sciatica.
How do I know if I have sciatica?
Sciatica pain is distinct. It begins in your lower back and radiates down one side of your body. You might notice discomfort in your back, buttock, hip, or leg, extending down to your calf. That pain can be mild to sharp.
Additional symptoms include sensations of tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in your leg or foot. Symptoms might flare up after a period of prolonged sitting or when you sneeze or cough.
For some, sciatica is more of an annoyance than a serious source of pain. For others, sciatica pain is excruciating, making it impossible to focus on little else.
What happens if sciatica isn’t treated?
It’s possible to recover from sciatica even without treatment. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, seeking care is important. Left untreated, sciatica can lead to permanent nerve damage.
Potential outcomes include permanent changes in leg sensation. You could lose all sensation in the affected leg, or have lingering sensations of muscle weakness.
If you’re concerned about lower back or leg pain and believe you might have sciatica, schedule an appointment with Dr. Macek by phone or online for a thorough diagnostic exam.