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Understanding the Effects of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the body’s longest nerve and one of the most important ones. It begins at the spinal cord, runs through the hips and buttocks, and then branches down each leg. When this nerve becomes irritated, it can have a direct effect on your ability to control and feel your legs — a condition known as sciatica.

At the office of Manhattan Orthopedic Spine PLLC, the spinal-related problems are our specialty. We are devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions such as sciatica, providing treatment options that can help all our patients lead happier and more productive lives.

Usually, sciatica affects only one side of your body and occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg. In rare instances, a herniated disk may be compressing nerves that affect your control over bladder or bowel function, which is a medical emergency.

Mild sciatica usually goes away over time. But if self-care measures such as cold packs, hot packs, stretching exercises, or OTC pain medications don’t give you relief, or if your pain becomes worse and lasts longer than a week, it’s time to see a doctor. Left untreated, sciatica can lead to permanent nerve damage.

More aggressive treatments for sciatica include prescription medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility. Surgery is an option usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn't improve with other therapies.

Committed to spinal health

At the office of Manhattan Orthopedic Spine PLLC, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate orthopedic spinal care. For more information on the many services we provide, give us a call today.

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