GREENWICH, Conn. -- While most back pain is confined to a specific region of the spine, those suffering from sciatica can experience pain from their back down to their toes.
According to neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Camel of Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists, "There are many causes of back pain. Making a correct diagnosis is the important first step before prescribing treatment.“
Sciatica is a condition in which pain travels along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. The pain from sciatica is usually limited to one side of the body and tends to affect people between the ages of 30 to 50.
The most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disk, spinal bone spur or a narrowing of the spine called spinal stenosis. These injuries put pressure on the nerve roots in the lower back and cause inflammation and pain. Sudden pressure on the the lower spine vertebrae from an acute injury can also trigger the condition creating a sharp, leg cramp that can last for weeks.
In most cases, sciatica can be resolved with such non-surgical treatments as rest, anti-inflammatory medications, heat and cold application as well as physical therapy. However, if the pain persists or worsens, doctors may administer a cortisone injection into the spine. If those measures fail to relieve the pain, surgery may be recommended. “Sciatica is a manageable condition with the appropriate treatment,” said Camel.
Patients experiencing lower back, hip, and leg pain or develop numbness, burning, and weakening in the leg or foot should consult with a physician.