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Sciatica Specialist

Pain Institute of Southern Arizona

Pain Management & Pain Medicine located in Tucson, AZ & Southern Arizona

Even though sciatica is often referred to as a ‘pinched nerve’, there are a variety of other factors that can also cause it such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease. The team at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona offers effective treatment options at their locations in Tucson, Oro Valley, and Green Valley, Arizona, that will help you get back on track and living life to the fullest. You can also visit Regional Pain Institute in Apache Junction, San Tan Valley, and Gilbert, Arizona, a division of the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona. Call the practice or schedule an appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica pain can manifest as a sharp "shock" or as a dull aching or burning sensation. Its severity ranges from mild to debilitating. Even though sciatica originates from the lower back, patients feel symptoms along their entire leg (or both legs).

Pain may occur anywhere the sciatic nerve runs through, from the lower buttock along the back of the leg and down to the sole of the foot. In most cases, sciatica is limited to only one side.

Is pain the only symptom of sciatica?

While pain is the major concern when dealing with sciatica, problems with the sciatic nerve can also manifest with other signs and symptoms. Patients with sciatica may feel a variety of other sensations in the leg, including:

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Abnormal reflexe

These, in turn, may lead to clumsiness and difficulty walking. Bowel and/or urinary changes, such as incontinence, may accompany more serious forms of sciatica.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is actually a symptom rather than a distinct disorder in and of itself. As such, addressing any underlying cause of sciatica is important for recovery. Sciatica may be caused by a variety of injuries and conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Direct injuries to the pelvis, including fractures
  • Tumors and cysts
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine)

Through diagnostic imaging and other tests, the provider may identify and treat the root cause of your sciatica pain. The following activities may place increased pressure on the sciatic nerve, making your pain feel worse:

  • Sitting or standing
  • Coughing, laughing, and sneezing
  • Walking distances further than a few yards
  • Bending backward

Unfortunately, in many cases of sciatica, the cause can't be determined. But it can be treated.

How do doctors treat sciatica?

Because sciatica pain often goes away on its own, its first-line treatment is typically watchful waiting and rest. However, it's still important to see a physician to rule out other treatable conditions. During this time, your provider may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and analgesics to help with your pain.

In some serious chronic cases, surgery — such as tumor or cyst removal — may be necessary to relieve sciatica pain.

If you're experiencing sciatica pain, be sure to request a consultation online to find out how the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona (PISA) can help.

What we offer

Pain Ailments and Conditions