NJ Spine and Pain Center PC
Uday Bhatt, MD
Interventional Pain Medicine located in Hamilton Square, NJ & Flemington, NJ
If you experience lower back pain that radiates down the back of your leg, you may be suffering from sciatica. At NJ Spine and Pain Center PC, pain specialist Uday Bhatt, MD, provides effective diagnosis and treatment of sciatica pain at three convenient offices in Hamilton Square, Monroe, and Flemington, New Jersey. Sciatica pain can vary from mild to severe and can be worsened by coughing, sneezing, or prolonged sitting. To discuss your symptoms with Dr. Bhatt, schedule your visit by phone or online today.
Sciatica Q & A
What is sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and extends from your lower back to your hips and legs. Pain that occurs along the path of the sciatic nerve is referred to as sciatica. Sciatica pain can become severe and lead to weakness in the legs and changes to bowel or bladder functions.
Sciatica pain can vary from person to person. Some experience mild aching while others experience sharp pain and burning sensations. Pain that radiates from the lower back down the legs is a telltale sign of sciatica.
Sciatica can affect anyone but there are certain factors that increase your risks. These include:
- Prolonged sitting
- Jobs that require heavy lifting
Age increases your chances for conditions like osteoarthritis and bone spurs. Age-related changes to the spine can result in compression of the sciatic nerve. Excess body weight and repeated heavy lifting add stress to your spine, increasing your risk for sciatica.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica most commonly occurs when there is compression along some part of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve can become pinched or compressed from conditions like herniated discs and bone spurs.
A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc, the soft rubbery cushion that sits between the bones of the spine, is pushed into the spinal canal. Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc irritates nearby nerves causing pain, numbness, and inflammation.
Bone spurs refer to small bone overgrowths that develop on the edge of bones. Bone spurs can form on any bone in the body but are most common in areas near the joints. If a bone spur occurs along the spine it can pinch the sciatic nerve.
How is sciatica treated?
Treatment for sciatica begins with a proper diagnosis. To diagnose your condition, Dr. Bhatt performs a physical exam, checking your muscle strength and reflexes. Next, he’ll perform an imaging test like an X-ray or CT scan to check for common culprits like bone spurs or herniated discs.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, treatment depends on the severity of your sciatic pain. Mild pain can be effectively treated with at-home remedies like over-the-counter pain medications, stretching exercises, and alternating cold and hot packs. If your condition is unresponsive to at-home measures, Dr. Bhatt provides a number of effective solutions. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Steroid injections
Dr. Bhatt specializes in a conservative approach to sciatica treatment. He opts for noninvasive treatment options whenever possible. Once your pain begins to improve, physical therapy can help you improve your posture and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
You and Dr. Bhatt discuss the best treatment option for you. To schedule your visit, call the office or book an appointment online.