Sciatica

Dallas Spine Care

Robert J. Henderson, MD, FACS, FACSS

Spine Surgeon located in Dallas, TX

The classic symptom of sciatica, excruciating pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your leg, affects about 40% of all adults at some point in their lives. Robert J. Henderson, MD, at Dallas Spine Care has extensive experience successfully treating sciatica, whether you’re seeking medical care for the first time or you’ve had a previous surgery that didn’t relieve the pain. To learn more about your treatment options, call the office in Dallas or schedule an appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica isn’t a specific condition; it refers to the symptoms that occur when your sciatic nerve is compressed. 

The nerve leaves the spinal cord near the bottom of your spine, traveling down both sides of your body as it goes through your buttocks and down each leg. 

In your legs, the sciatic nerve branches several times to innervate different areas. The health conditions that most often compress the sciatic nerve include:

  • A herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Bone spurs
  • A slipped disc
  • Trauma

A herniated disc is the most common cause, resulting in about 90% of all cases of sciatica.

What symptoms develop due to sciatica?

Sciatica is known for its debilitating and uncontrollable pain. The pain starts in your lower back, then suddenly travels down your leg. 

Patients often describe it as an electric-shock or shooting pain, although some find that their sciatica feels more like a burning pain. The pinched nerve also causes sensations, such as tingling and numbness. In severe cases, you may develop muscle weakness.

How is sciatica treated?

The first line of treatment for sciatica consists of conventional options, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and physical therapy. 

If your pain continues, Dr. Henderson may administer an epidural injection, delivering steroids and a local anesthetic to reduce swelling and diminish your pain.

When you exhaust conservative options and you still have pain or your symptoms worsen, Dr. Henderson may recommend surgery. 

The best procedure depends on the underlying cause of your sciatica. If you have a herniated disc, Dr. Henderson may perform a discectomy to remove the herniated portion or the entire disc.

In many cases, patients have had a prior surgery, but their pain continues because the procedure didn’t provide adequate decompression. Dr. Henderson can solve this problem with well-planned and highly targeted decompression surgery.

Following a surgical procedure to repair the condition, you may also need a spinal fusion. During a spinal fusion, Dr. Henderson inserts a bone graft between the vertebrae. The graft allows the bones to grow together and fuse into one bone, restoring stability and alleviating pain.

If you suffer from sciatica, you need the expertise available at Dallas Spine Care. Call the office or schedule an appointment online.