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Is Sciatica Considered a Neurological Issue?


1.18 - Is Sciatica a Neurological Problem

Since the sciatic nerve is a nerve, the issues that result from sciatica are technically neurological in nature. However, some of the causes of sciatica are not nerve based at all. This article discusses the neurological and non-nerve-based aspects of sciatica, which refers to the leg and lower body symptoms.

Sciatica as a Nerve-Related Problem

As mentioned above, sciatica is a nerve-related problem. This is because symptoms are progressive and neurological. In some instances, these symptoms are severe enough to require immediate medical attention. Nerve-related symptoms that can range from mild to severe include:

• Numbness and tingling sensations
• Leg pain
• Pins-and-needles sensations
• Lower body discomfort
Low back pain

Sciatica Causes and Contributing Factors

Many things can irritate the sciatic nerve, and one of the most common sources is a herniated disc. It is also possible for spinal discs to wear down in a way that causes sciatic nerve irritation. This is referred to as degenerative disc disease. 

Sciatica can also be caused by bone spurs, muscle inflammation, and, in rare instances, lower back tumors. Contributing factors that could increase the risk of having issues with sciatica include:

• Having chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
• Being overweight
• Having poor posture

Seeking Treatment

You may be referred to a neurologist if you have
sciatica. Spine doctors are familiar with this particular spinal nerve and are knowledgeable when it comes to dealing with sciatica and its related causes. Typical treatment recommendations include:

• Medication
• Posture improvements
• Physical therapy
• Hot/cold therapy
• Surgery if symptoms are severe or conservative treatments fail to provide relief

More often than not, sciatic nerve irritation can be treated with nonsurgical remedies, even if a herniated disc is involved. Chiropractic adjustments are also beneficial for some patients seeking relief from sciatic nerve irritation.

Protecting the Sciatic Nerve

There are some steps you can take to protect your sciatic nerve and reduce your risk of having sciatica-related problems. The first step is to be mindful of your posture. Also, be careful with how you lift things. If you have chronic health issues like those mentioned above, make sure to keep them under control. It can also be helpful to sleep on a supportive mattress.

Also, see your doctor if you start to develop sciatica-like symptoms. This way, you can be treated sooner rather than later. The longer the sciatic nerve is irritated, the longer it takes for it to heal properly. Waiting too long to seek treatment also increases your risk of having lingering nerve-based pain, even if you end up having surgery to treat the source of your sciatica. 

Patients who have had discectomies for herniated discs may experience sciatica if their discs reherniate, which often occurs if there is a large hole in the outer ring of the disc after surgery. Fortunately, there is a new treatment shown to reduce the risk of reherniation by closing the hole in the disc after a discectomy. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. Barricaid was proven 95 percent effective in a study of over 500 patients, meaning 95 percent of patients did not experience a reoperation due to reherniation in the two-year study time frame.

To learn more about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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