An Overview of Chronic Sciatica
Chronic sciatica can be a debilitating condition for many individuals in the East Texas area. Persistent sciatica is defined as sciatic pain that continues for longer than three months. Like many other chronic pain conditions, chronic sciatica requires sufferers to contact a pain doctor in order to receive the appropriate pain management treatment. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler is available to assist Tyler, Texas residents affected by this condition, and help them return to a normal, pain-free lifestyle.
What is Chronic Sciatica?
Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by pressure and compression on the sciatic nerve. The symptoms can also be caused by compression and pressure on the spine’s nerve roots that are connected to the sciatic nerve. Chronic sciatica is described as sciatic pain that lasts an extended period of time, typically over three months with no relief.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the feet. Because of its long length, there are a number of opportunities for it to become compressed and lead to troublesome symptoms. However, in many patients, sciatica is most often caused by degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, bone spurs or herniated discs.
Symptoms of Chronic Sciatica
Sciatic pain does not affect as many individuals as general back pain since the condition is a specific subset of back pain. A pain doctor is trained to determine if a patient is experiencing general back pain or sciatica.
The most common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain, numbness and tingling that begin in the lower back area and radiates down to the buttocks, hips or legs.
- Pain becomes worse when standing or sitting
- Muscle weakness in the lower body
Chronic sciatica has the potential to hinder an individual’s normal activities if not treated. Even sitting at a desk during work hours can cause extreme pain and discomfort.
How Pain Doctors Diagnose and Treat Chronic Sciatica
In order to diagnose chronic sciatica and develop a pain management plan, a pain doctor must fully understand a patient’s symptoms, severity of symptoms and onset of symptoms.
Pain doctors prefer detailed descriptions of how a patient feels. Instead of “horrible” or “awful,” patients are encouraged to go more in-depth. Chronic sciatica is often described as:
- “The sensation in my foot feels like it is asleep, combined with a sharp muscle cramp.”
- “The discomfort in my buttock feels like pins and needles or an electric shock.”
- “My leg feels like I am standing in freezing water.”
Once a diagnosis is reached, the patient and pain doctor will work as a team to keep the condition under control. Staying physically active and/or engaging in a prescribed physical therapy program is important. Keeping the body in motion often provides immediate pain relief. Many chronic sciatica sufferers are also prescribed medications and other pain management drug therapies, as well as hot and cold therapy, massage therapy and ultrasound.
For more resources on chronic sciatica, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.