If you’re experiencing pain traveling from your lower back into your buttocks and backs of your legs, it could be a problem with the longest nerve in your body – the sciatic nerve. Dr. James Ashford is a board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain management specialist who can address the reason for your nerve pain and design a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. Schedule a visit with Dr. Ashford at Ashford Pain Solutions in Athens, Georgia today. Call the office or book your appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is interventional pain management?

Rather than helping you learn to cope with your pain or masking your symptoms with opioids or other narcotics, an interventional pain management specialist like Dr. Ashford employs a variety of treatment techniques to address the source of your pain. This may include injections, spinal cord stimulation, and even medical massage to reduce inflammation, block pain signals, and relax tight muscles.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed or irritated within the spinal canal. This irritation is often caused by a herniated disc in your spine or an overgrowth of bone tissue on the vertebrae (bone spur). These conditions can cause narrowing of the space through which the nerve has to travel in the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). This compresses or “pinches” the nerve and leads to pain. Diseases such as diabetes or arthritis may also damage the nerve itself or the bony structures of the spine.

Other factors that increase your risk of developing sciatica include:

  • Excess body weight, which increases stress on your spine
  • An occupation that requires you to carry heavy loads frequently
  • Prolonged sitting or an overall inactive lifestyle

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The pain related to sciatica can vary in intensity. It may affect both legs, but most often occurs in only one leg.

You might notice:

  • Mild to severe pain almost anywhere along the sciatic nerve pathway, which branches from your spine and runs to both hips, through the buttocks, and down the back of both legs
  • Discomfort that may be described as mild aching to a sharp, burning sensation that can feel like an electric shock
  • Pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or standing
  • Numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot
  • Mixed symptoms that may include pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another

What is the treatment for sciatica?

Your treatment depends on what is irritating the nerve. Dr. Ashford often recommends a combination of treatments to address the inflammation and pain associated with sciatica. This may include injections near the nerve root to decrease swelling and irritation, guided physical therapy exercises, and/or alternative therapies such as acupuncture.

Schedule an appointment at Ashford Pain Solutions today by calling the office or booking your visit online.