At Unique Pain Medicine of New York, our board certified physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of Sciatica.
We offer Sciatica treatments in our Manhattan and Brooklyn locations.
Sciatica – Pain, numbness or weakness that starts from the low back and travels into the leg and foot.
The cause of Sciatica is usually a herniated disk in the lumbar spine. This type of nerve pain usually starts from the back or the buttock and travels into one or both legs. Patients typically experience shooting pain, numbness and weakness of the involved extremity. Walking can be difficult and the pain can be severe, making it difficult to sleep or work. Sitting may be more painful than standing.
A bulging disc happens when a weakened or deteriorated disc shifts outside of its normal housing between the vertebra. Usually this occurs slowly over a long period of time as we age, or as a result of an acute injury. Bulging disks are common. When the disk is acutely displaced, nerves frequently become pinched and inflamed, causing pain. Patients typically experience low back pain that may radiate into the buttock, leg and foot. Sciatica can be extremely painful.
Sciatica is a treatable conditions. It is best to start treatment as soon as symptoms appear.
Sciatica and herniated disc FAQ
Why does sciatica occur?
Sciatica usually occurs because of bulging and herniated disks in the lumbar spine. Herniated disks become inflamed and frequently “pinch” nerves that are traveling from the pelvis into the leg. When these nerves become irritated, patients will typically experience shooting pain into the buttock and leg as well as lower extremity numbness and possibly weakness.
What is a herniated disc?
A normal disc normally lies between the bones of the spine. When a disc herniates, it leaves its normal location and is pushed backwards or to the side. The nerves that typically travel along the bones of the spine become irritated and “pinched” by the herniated disc. This causes pain in the back and buttock and possibly pain and numbness into the the leg.
How is sciatica diagnosed?
An MRI is the test of choice if sciatica is suspected. An MRI will show which discs are involved and to what degree.
How is sciatica treated?
Treatment should be initiated once sciatica is diagnosed. The choice of treatment will depend on the patients symptoms and the MRI findings.
Treatments for Sciatica include:
- Physical Therapy and rest
- Anti-inflammatory and nerve pain medication
- Epidural steroid injection – Transforaminal Epidural or Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
What is an epidural steroid injection?
If sciatica is causing symptoms and more conservative approaches have failed, an epidural steroid injection should be attempted. The doctor will place an anti-inflammatory steroid medication around the inflamed nerves. This causes rapid pain relief and decreases the swelling around pinched nerves and damaged discs. The procedure is generally not painful and is done in the office setting. There is no downtime after.
Epidural Steroid Injection for Sciatica Video
Is an epidural injection painful?
An epidural injection is minimally uncomfortable and very well tolerated. They can be done with local anesthesia or IV sedation if desired. If you have a fear of needles and would rather not feel the injection, you will be given the option to receive IV sedation, which makes the procedure painless. Your doctor will discuss this option with you.
How long does a bulging disc take to heal?
Your symptoms should resolve within 4-6 weeks.
Can a herniated disk fix itself?
Once a disk is herniated, it will not go back to its original location. However, there are many people living with bulging discs and do not even know about it. Once the acute episode is resolved and inflammation controlled, the symptoms should gradually resolve.
Do I need surgery to fix sciatica?
If sciatica is properly diagnosed and treated, surgery is rarely necessary. We recommend that patients with sciatica be evaluated and treated as soon as possible in order to prevent progression of the disease. If patients experience neurologic compromise, or if pain cannot be controlled using more conservative approaches, surgery may be needed.
Does my health insurance cover the diagnosis and treatment of sciatica?
The diagnosis and treatment of sciatica is covered by all health insurance plans.
If you are suffering from nerve pain and need help we invite you to talk with our team of talented pain management specialists at Unique Pain Medicine. If the cause of your pain is properly diagnosed, the treatment is usually successful.
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We Accept Most Insurances:
- BlueCross BlueShield
- Consolidated Health Plans
- Empire Plan (NYSHIP)
- Fidelis Care
- HIP – Emblem Health
- Meritain Health
- MetroPlus Health Plan
- Oxford Freedom
- United Healthcare