The Vault

Sciatica FAQs Spine Center of Texas San AntonioWhere does sciatica pain come from?

Sciatica pain may be caused by any of the following: bulging disc, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal tumor, spinal infection, spondylolisthesis, trauma, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, or pregnancy. Any of the conditions stated above have the tendency to create pressure on the sciatic nerve or related nerve roots in the lower back which causes sciatica and other related symptoms.

Should I undergo surgery to treat my sciatica?

Spine surgery is seldom prescribed when it comes to treating sciatica, because many patients diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy already respond well to non-surgical treatments. Spine surgery may be considered for the following situations:

  • If a patient has a bowel or bladder dysfunction that is related to compression in the spinal cord.
  • If a patient has spinal stenosis and the patient’s health practitioner strongly feels that surgery will be the best approach to combat it.
  • If a patient is experiencing other neurologic dysfunctions, such as severe leg weakness.
  • If a patient is not responding to non-surgical treatment or if symptoms become severe over time.

What are the types of surgeries I may undergo to cure sciatica?

Sciatica FAQs Spine Center of Texas San AntonioHere are the most common spinal surgeries for sciatica:

  • Discectomy/Microdiscectomy

A surgeon will remove all or part of a herniated disc that’s been putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Microdiscectomy is considered a less invasive surgical procedure that uses mictoscopic magnification to work through very small incisions. Patients who undergo microdiscectomy recover quicker as it is a less invasive procedure.

  • Laminectomy/Laminotomy

Both surgical procedures involve lamina – a bony plate protecting the spinal canal and spinal cord. The entire lamina is removed during laminectomy, but only a part of it is removed during laminotomy. Both procedures create more space for the nerve, which lowers the risk of compression or pinching, and reduces the risk of sciatica.

Can I take over the counter medications to deal with the sciatica pain?

In order to reduce swelling and relieve pain, over the counter, non-steroidal, and anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. NSAID’s) may be prescribed by the patient’s health care practitioner. Choices may include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or Naproxen. Patients must make sure to consult their health care practitioner before taking in any kind of medication.

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