Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Treating Sciatic Nerve Pain

Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:43 AM

Question: What can I do for sciatic nerve pain?

Dr. Hibberd’s Answer:

The sciatic nerve is composed of a combination of lower back nerve roots (the fourth lumbar nerve root to the third sacral nerve root) whose fibers join outside of the spinal canal to form the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the main nerve supplying each thigh, leg, and foot with motor and sensory function.

Common injuries to the lower back and buttock area may produce sciatic nerve irritation either directly to the nerve or via one of its rootlets that the nerve originates from. Disc disease may compress the neural foramen where the nerve root emerges from the spinal canal, and if it involves one of the rootlets that make up the nerve itself, there may be sciatica-like symptoms.

Likewise, other conditions of the lower lumbar, sacral spine, and pelvis such as direct trauma, tumors, disc prolapse, fractures, or spondylolisthesis (forward slipping of one vertebrae on the one below it) may affect these neural rootlets or the nerve itself.

The first and best thing you need to do is be examined by a competent medical professional. Usually a complete examination will reveal the source of your sciatic nerve complaint, and then a satisfactory treatment program can be established. Often an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is useful for confirmation and identification of spinal and disc disease. Disc material is not visible on plain X-ray film and requires more involved study through MRI or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan. Expect a trial of conservative anti-inflammatories first unless neurologic deficits are present, and be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and allow re-evaluation and further investigation.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:43 AM
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