Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica is a symptom in itself, not a disease. People with sciatica experience leg pain in varying degrees. This could range from intense, shooting pain to cramping sensations. Pain might be worse while sitting. The pain can also increase during moments that causes muscles to tighten, such as sneezing or coughing.

What Causes Sciatica?

There are multiple causes of sciatica, each of which causes abnormal pressure or “pinching” of the sciatic nerve. Some of the causes of sciatica are:

  • A herniated or bulging disc that puts pressure on a nerve root. This is the most common cause of sciatica.
  • Spinal bone spurs that put pressure on surrounding nerves
  • Spondylolisthesis, where slippage of a vertebra narrows the nerve opening
  • Piriformis syndrome, which occurs when the piriformis muscle, located deep within the buttocks, tightens or spasms and irritates the sciatic nerve
  • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Irritation of and additional pressure on the sciatic nerve during pregnancy

Los Angeles Sciatica Treatments

In most cases, sciatica treatments in Los Angeles are non-surgical. We will always try to exhaust the most practical and effective non-invasive options first before committing to surgical procedures. Dr. Hunt's specialty in neurosurgery gives a unique perspective to diagnoses and insight into a customized treatment plan. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain symptoms and increase mobility. A custom treatment plan may include a variety of modalities to accomplish this, including physical therapy and medication.

Spinal injections to reduce inflammation can improve mobility and decrease pressure on the surrounding nerves. For those who do not respond to these treatments, surgery may be an option, depending on the cause of the sciatica. One of these options is a laminectomy, a procedure to remove a portion of certain vertebrae to alleviate nerve compression within that portion of the spinal column. Patients with sciatica may also be candidates for microdiscectomy, a surgery to remove fragments of a herniated disc.

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Avoiding Sciatica

While there are some cases of trauma or disease that cause sciatica that can not be directly prevented, there are general practices for overall back and body health that can contribute to reducing incidences of sciatica. These include:

  • Avoiding sitting for long periods of time
  • Exercising regularly to strengthen your back and core muscles
  • Practicing good posture when standing, sitting, and sleeping
  • Lifting using your legs while keeping your back straight and the item close to your body
  • Avoiding smoking cigarettes, which can accelerate disc degeneration

How Long Will the Procedure Take?

There are generally two types of sciatica surgery. You have Discectomy or Microdiscectomy, where the herniated disc causing sciatica is removed partially or completely. This is a minimally invasive procedure. The procedure is carried out using microscopic magnification, which allows the surgeon to work via a tiny incision using small instruments. Then, there is Laminectomy or Laminotomy, which involves removing the lamina partially or completely.

Laminotomy is for partial removal, while Laminectomy is for complete removal. The lamina is a bony plate-like structure that protects the spinal cord and spinal canal. Removing the lamina creates space and prevents the compression of the sciatic nerve. On average, both procedures take around an hour or two to complete. Contact us today for arguably the best treatments for sciatica Los Angeles offers.

At Hunt Spine, you are what matters most. It is our duty to improve your quality of life by treating back and spine conditions, this is a duty we do not take lightly and it shows in our unique one-on-one consultation. In this consultation, we take as much time as needed to insure we plan out a specialized treatment that will yield optimal results.

Another important factor is you, the patient are fully educated on your condition and its treatment options. You will leave the consultation with a firm understanding and a treatment goal in mind. Dr. Leonel Hunt and Dr. Gabriel Hunt are dedicated to improving your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more, and schedule a consultation with some of the best spine specialists Los Angeles has to offer.

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